Muscular strength and conditioning activities
Muscular strength and conditioning activities challenge your muscles to become stronger. Even very small changes in muscle strength can make a big difference in your independence, especially as you age. To increase your muscle strength, you need to lift or push weights, and gradually increase the weight. You can use store bought hand and ankle weights or you can use home made weights such as empty, small water bottles filled with sand to varying weights. You can also use resistance bands (they look like big rubber bands) or the specialized weight machines at fitness centers. Avoid heavy weight lifting, especially if you have high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease (angina). Aim for exercises that target all the major muscle groups, including arms, shoulders, chest, back, abdomen, and upper and lower legs. Focus on strengthening your stomach muscles. Try to include at least one strength workout a week. Always include a few minutes of light to moderate aerobic activity and easy stretching before and after your strength workout.
Talk to your doctor before you begin your strength-training program and make sure that you get proper instruction from a certified fitness professional. Many community centers and fitness clubs offer muscular strength and conditioning classes. These are a great way to improve your strength in the company of others!