Have you ever carried heavy shopping bags? Or spent an afternoon digging over your flower beds? Then congratulations, you’ve given your muscles a workout! Done regularly, building strength brings a whole host of rewards – and it’s one of Slimming World’s five active habits for a fitter, healthier lifestyle.
Along with aiming for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio five times a week, Public Health England recommends that all adults add at least two muscle-strengthening sessions to their weekly activity plans. The good news is, there are many simple ways to work your muscles effectively, without having to pump iron! First, let’s take a closer look at the benefits of building strength…
Why is building strength important?
Muscle strength declines with age so strength exercises can help us to carry on moving around independently as we grow older. Plus, it has an added weight loss bonus, as Dr Jacquie Lavin, Slimming World’s Head of Research and Scientific Affairs, explains:
“Muscle strength helps maintain our metabolic rate, meaning our body burns calories more efficiently – so when you combine it with Food Optimising, building strength supports your weight loss!”
MORE FOR MEMBERS: Check out our beginner’s guide to strength training.
How to get started
You probably do more strength exercises than you realise. Anything from using hand weights (or a couple of cans of beans) at home to everyday activities like vigorously gardening or cleaning the car count. So, however you like to work out, you’ll likely find a strength-training plan to suit you.
‘‘That’s the key,’ says Jacquie. ‘It’s important to do strength exercises regularly, and that’s easier if you choose activities that you enjoy and find a routine that you can maintain.’ Here are some more magic ideas for building strength:
- carrying small children
- doing exercises that use your own body weight for resistance, like press-ups and squats
- signing up for a yoga or Pilates class
- propelling yourself under your own steam if you’re a wheelchair user
- playing racquet sports like tennis and badminton
- boxing or a boxercise class
Slimming World Consultant Amy (@amysmith.sw) is punching her way towards her Body Magic goals after signing up for a boxing match and she’s already feeling stronger, healthier and happier.
MORE FOR MEMBERS: Whether you fancy a five-minute taster or a full 30-minute workout, our special series of activity videos will help you feel the benefits of building strength.
“I never dreamed I’d set foot in a gym”
Slimming World member Steve Tranmer was convinced strength training wasn’t for him… until a colleague offered to show him a few basic exercises and he discovered how satisfying it could be. He says:
“At first, I was so self-conscious that I’d deliberately go to the gym early in the morning when I knew no one else would be there. The more I went, though, the more I was able to do. And as my confidence grew, I stopped thinking about whether the other gym-goers were looking at me and just focused on myself.
Now, going to the gym is my ‘me time’. Taking an hour out of my day two or three times a week to train really helps to clear my head, and I always finish a workout feeling more positive and energised.”
If you’d love to get more active, but don’t know where to start, Slimming World’s Body Magic programme can help. Our unique activity plan is designed to help you overcome your personal obstacles to exercise and gradually make activity part of your lifestyle, whatever your weight, age or fitness level. You’ll also get access to our full get-fit toolkit, which includes:
- more than 50 on-demand activity videos, with workouts for every ability
- easy-to-follow exercise guides and activity ideas
- an online activity tracker, so you can chart your progress towards your next Body Magic award
- the FIT log tool, to help you identify any barriers and put strategies in place
- exclusive fitness-themed podcast episodes