We can strengthen our muscles and bones at the gym – or at home. How are you fitting strength training into your weekly schedule?
It’s month 3, week 3 of our 12 Months of Wellness. This week we’re focused on maintaining our muscle by adding a strength training routine to our schedules at least twice a week.
What kind of creative ways have you been finding to fit strength training into your schedule? If you don’t have a gym membership, don’t worry. You can get some excellent strength training just by pushing that old vacuum cleaner around the house (robotic vacuums don’t count).
Personally, I leave the vacuuming to my husband while I attack the floors and the bathrooms. I maintain my muscle while I have fun, too. I play volleyball (a great upper and lower body muscle workout) at least twice a week; use free weights at home at least three times a week; walk an hour every night; and lift, carry, and row heavy rowing shells twice a week during winter and five times during the rest of the year.
Amy Wood, Editor, says: “I get bored of the gym, so while I do visit the alive gym once or twice a week for some skipping and light weight training, I maintain my muscle with a variety of heart-pumping activities such as hot yoga and Pilates, indoor rock climbing, and bootcamp-style circuit training. In yoga I use mostly my own weight and gravity to build muscle; however, occasionally fusion classes also include exercise balls and resistance bands.
Rock climbing, again, is a highly bodyweight-centric activity; though, I occasionally do pull-ups and other arm-strengthening exercises. Circuit training is perhaps where I use the most equipment, including medicine balls, kettlebells, dumbbells, barbells, and resistance bands. The combination of these activities keeps me interested and gives me a full-body workout, because each activity is so different. As for vigorous cleaning … I try to do as little of that as possible.”
Vince Yim, Digital Content Coordinator, says: “I try to hit the gym at least four times per week, usually the morning, as after work is usually the busy time. I try to focus on different muscle groups on different days, with legs (squats, lunges, dead lifts) taking up the odd numbered days, having one session dedicated to chest/back exercises (pull-ups, bench press, rows), and one session dedicated to shoulders and arms. I generally prefer using free weights and dumbbells as opposed to machines, although for some exercises, a dedicated machine is required.”
Bryce Tarling, Editorial Assistant, says: “I used to be a bit of a gym rat, spending a good five or six days lifting weights every week. I had diligent circuit routines that helped me isolate specific muscle groups using both machines and free weights. These days, I try to do more full-body exercises at home (I haven’t been to a gym in years!).
Pull-ups, push-ups, squats, and core exercises allow me to target multiple muscle groups with each exercise. Lately my routine has been a bit sporadic, but as part of my 12 Months of Wellness plan, I’m going to commit to a steady strengthening regimen of two times per week.”
Ellen Niemer, Editor and Creative Services Liaison, says: Like a lot of people, I returned to the gym in January. I used to work out regularly but let my gym habit lapse. Going to the gym (and strength training) really is a habit. The key to getting results with strength training is to schedule my gym time three days a week right after work—and stick to it. What motivates me is that strength training, either with free weights or machines or both, provides results quickly.
I recently incorporated interval training into my workout routine. My interval workout seemed complicated at first, but the combination of strength training and cardio done in short, intense bursts provides a great workout. There are days after work when I think I’m too tired to go, but I put my gear on and force myself to make the effort. I focus on the good feeling I always get after completing a workout.
How do you maintain muscle?
Do you have a routine to keep your muscles and bones strong? Or does it change with the seasons? Whatever you do to maintain your muscle, we’d love to hear about it. Drop us a line via blog posts or Facebook comments, or by using the Twitter hashtag #2013alive.