Resisting Resistance

May 20, 2011 in Diabetes Management, Fitness, Health, Weight Management by Mary Ireland

Have you been resisting resistance exercise? Does it just seem too complicated -- requiring you to purchase a lot of equipment or buy a gym membership? If you are a woman, do you think that you will end up with big muscles that you find unattractive? Do you think that you are just too old to start a resistance exercise program? Well in this blog I want to talk about why resistance exercise is important and give you some examples of how you can start a resistance exercise programs without barbell or other weights.

The benefits of resistance training are many and documented in various studies listed in the Archives of Internal Medicine:

So, how can you get started on a resistance program without spending a lot of money? The key is using your own body weight as resistance. I wanted to make this as easy as possible, so I went out to and found videos that demonstrate some basic resistance exercises to help you get started. None of these exercises require equipment. As the first video notes, always consult a physician if you are just starting an exercise program. Also, you should warm up for five minutes by walking or some other light activity. I've pick exercises for the three main parts of the body - upper body, abdominals and lower body. Exercise all three parts for a balanced workout. If you are just getting started select an exercise from each group and perform these exercises every other day. Start slowly and build up the number of times you repeat an exercise, which is referred to as a repetition.

Push Ups

One of the best upper body exercises is the push up. If you are just getting started, try the basic wall push up. As you get stronger, you can move your hands in various positions on the wall to work different muscles. Once you master the wall push up, you can use a kitchen or bathroom counter to do a push up similar to a bench push up. As you get even stronger, you can move to the floor and perform a bent knee push up.

Abdominal Crunches

Crunches are a good way to tone your stomach muscles. This video shows good form for three different standing abdominal crunches. The exercises on this video show how to tone the abdominal muscles on your sides (known as obliques). As you get stronger, you can stand on one leg while performing a crunch to increase the difficulty and improve your balance.

Leg Exercises

The muscles in the hips and legs are the largest muscles in the body. Working out these muscles burns more energy than the smaller muscles in the upper body. One of the best exercises for the lower body is squats. Start slowly and use good form. Whenever you are squatting or lunging, keep your knees over your ankle to protect your knees. This chair squat is an excellent exercise if you are just beginning an exercise program. As you get stronger, you can do the squat without the chair as shown in this video. The muffin top leg lift helps tone your lower back and upper hip area. Plie squats are also a good overall lower body exercise.

I selected these exercises because you can do them standing up. This is important because you can easily work them into your daily routine. You might even find it fun to do them. I encourage you to explore youtube on your own to find exercises that suit you. Netflix also has a large selection of exercise videos. Search for more challenging videos to use as you get stronger and want a tougher workout. As I've discussed before the most important thing about exercise is to start and be consistent. See Muscle Strengthening at Home for more tips and videos. Remember that two key ingredients for health are nutrition and exercise.