We know that the Mediterranean Diet is great for helping to prevent chronic disease. But there have actually been studies on how incorporating physical activity with the range of superfoods we have available in the Mediterranean Diet can actually improve outcomes even further. Incorporating the Mediterranean Diet with physical activity has been associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, higher cancer survival rate, and more recently in a lower risk of Alzheimer’s dementia.
And when it comes to movement and exercise, strength training is an ideal exercise to adopt into your life. It can increase bone mass, and prevent muscle loss as we age. All great reasons to train for strength! Exercise Physiologist Wade Innes can show you how easy it is for anyone to start. He shares his top 4 strength training tips for beginners.
Top 4 Strength Training Tips for Beginners
By Exercise Physiologist Wade Innes
“Strength is never weakness and weakness is never a strength” – Mark Bell
Throughout my time of working with people to increase their physical activity levels, I have found people can be a little resistant to the thought of incorporating strength training into their lifestyle. “It’s going to make me bulky!”, “I don’t want to look like Arnold!” or “I can’t do that I am too old/ too young/ female/ anything else to do strength training!” are common phrases I hear when discussing strength training with people. However, this is untrue. Strength training is for everyone and is a great way to improve your overall health.
What is strength training?
Strength training is a form of exercise that requires your muscles to contract against an external force that results in changes to your muscles, bones, tendons and nervous system. It is the best all round exercise as it can improve strength, bone density, heart and lung function, flexibility and help control weight. The following are some tips to help those beginning their strength journey.
Start low, aim high
Organisations like the World health Organisation and the American College of Sports Medicine recommend beginners start with two days of resistance training with the aim of working all muscles groups for one to three sets of 10 repetitions. This is a great place to start, build a foundation and progress from. The good thing about starting resistance training for the first time is that regardless of what you do (even if it is just a little bit) you are going to get improvements. I always recommend starting with the bare minimum as there is more room to progress in the future and keeps you improving for longer.
Remain patient and consistent
Rome wasn’t built in a day and unfortunately neither will your gains. Being consistent with your strength training over a long period of time is what will lead you to achieving your goals. To help be consistent you need to find a resistance training method that best suits your current situation. This could be in the form of a home-based exercise program, going to the park, joining a gym, body weight exercises, going to a Pilates studio or finding a health practitioner to help you.
Progress your exercises
Progressive overload is one of the most important principles to strength training. What is progressive overload? It is the incremental increases in the difficulty of your strength training over time. This allows muscles to continue to adapt to your training and prevents plateaus in your improvements. This is most commonly achieved by lifting more weight, however, there are other ways you can progress your exercises. These include increasing the number of repetitions, sets or number of training sessions per week, slowing down the movement of the exercise, increasing your range of motion or finding an advanced variation of an exercise.
Incorporate flexibility, balance and breathing exercises into the routine
Include some balance, breathing, stretching or self-massage before and after a strength training session as this can help facilitate bone, muscle and joint health in addition to the benefits of strength training. This does not have to be a time-consuming process, just add a couple minutes in each session during your warmup and cooldown. This little bit of time investment can add up to big health benefits.
Those are my big four tips for strength training. If you need help to get started you can speak to you GP or look yourself to find a local exercise physiologist, strength coach, sport scientist or personal trainer to help you get started on your strength journey.
Wade will be speaking at the Mediterranean Diet Expo
We will be conducting an ‘Interview with a View’ with Wade at our upcoming Mediterranean Expo. This will be an interview-style discussion about physical activity and the Mediterranean Diet out on the Greek Club balcony. This event is in Brisbane at The Greek Club. For all the information on this event and to book your tickets, head to our webpage.