Strength exercises make your muscles stronger. Even small increases in strength can make a big difference in your ability to stay independent and carry out everyday activities, such as climbing stairs and carrying groceries. These exercises also are called "strength training" or "resistance training."
- Lifting Weights
- Using a resistance band
How Much, How Often
Try to do strength exercises for all of your major muscle groups on two or more days per week for 30-minute sessions each, but don't exercise the same muscle group on any two days in a row.
- Depending on your condition, you might need to start out using 1- or 2-pound weights or no weight at all.
- Use a light weight the first week and then gradually add more weight.
- It should feel somewhere between hard and very hard for you to lift or push the weight. If you can't lift or push a weight 8 times in a row, it's too heavy.
- Take 3 seconds to lift a weight into place, hold for 1 second, and return in 3 seconds.
This exercise for your shoulders can help you put things up on a shelf or take them down more easily.
What You Need:
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Hold weights straight down at your sides, with palms facing backward.
- Keeping them straight, breathe out as you raise both arms in front of you to shoulder height.
- Hold the position for 1 second.
- Breathe in as you slowly lower arms.
- Repeat 10-15 times.
- Rest; then repeat 10-15 more times.
As you progress, use a heavier weight and alternate arms until you can lift the weight comfortably with both arms.
- Talk with your doctor if you are unsure about doing a particular exercise, especially if you've had hip or back surgery.
- Don't hold your breath during strength exercises. Holding your breath while straining can cause changes in blood pressure. Breathe in slowly through your nose and breathe out slowly through your mouth.
- Breathe out as you lift or push, and breathe in as you relax.
- For some exercises, you may want to start alternating arms and work your way up to using both arms at the same time.
- To prevent injury, don't jerk or thrust weights. Use smooth, steady movements.
- Muscle soreness lasting a few days and slight fatigue are normal after muscle-building exercises, at least at first. After doing these exercises for a few weeks, you will probably not be sore after your workout.