Teaching Old Muscles New Tricks
by Carol E. Torgan, Ph.D.
A Word to the Wise...
- Check with your doctor before starting any
- Do strength exercises for all your major muscles
groups (shoulders, arms, back, stomach, hips, legs) at least twice a week.
Don't do exercises of the same muscle group two days in a row. Give your
muscles time to recover and rebuild.
- Start out slow. You may need to start with 1-2
pounds of weight, or no weight at all. Don't start out with too much
weight, which can lead to injuries. You should feel like you're
challenging yourself, but aren't near your limit.
- You may experience some muscle soreness and fatigue at the
beginning. This is normal, and indicates your muscles are rebuilding to
become stronger. However, you should not experience sore joints or
exhaustion, nor should you experience any pain.
- You can use hand or ankle weights sold in
sporting goods stores. Or you can be creative and fill empty milk jugs
with sand or water, fill socks with beans, or use canned goods.
- Do 8-15 repetitions in a row of each exercise.
Use smooth and steady movements. Once you can easily lift the weight 15
times, increase the amount of weight (usually every 2-3 weeks). Your
muscles will get continuously stronger as you progress.
- Take 3 seconds to lift or push a weight, hold the
position for 1 second, and then take another 3-5 seconds to lower the
weight (don't just let the weight drop).
- Breath out (exhale) as you lift or push the
weight, and breath in (inhale) as you relax or lower the weight. You will
have to think about this at first, but soon it will become natural. Don't
hold your breath during the exercises.