In the previous installment of this 2-part series, I discussed upper body strength training. In this installment, I will discuss the importance of training your lower body.
You may be thinking, “Don’t I get enough exercise from walking?” The answer is no, not really. Although it does provide some movement, your body is probably used to it and has made adjustments internally so that you can do the same amount without much exertion. You have to surprise your body and give it something it isn’t expecting in order to increase your strength and endurance.
Don’t Forget about Your Core
You also have to consider working your core. After all, your core is what holds you up straight, and if your core is weak, your whole body is weak. I get complaints from new clients regarding pain in their lower backs. The good news is that a lot of that pain can be alleviated by strengthening your core. Crunches, sit ups and flexibility exercises all work to strengthen your core.
Take the Stairs
Do you ever wonder why some people have trouble standing up from a seated position? It’s called lack of use. Your legs are made of several different muscle groups and what you don’t use, you lose. One of the easiest ways to improve leg strength is to climb several flights of stairs each day.
- The energy used to climb is all in the legs: Hamstrings, Quads, Calves and Glutes.
- You also get a cardio benefit, so your heart gets a workout too.
- You’re working both legs at once and one let at a time with each step up.
- Your hips get some much needed action to keep them flexible and strong.
- This is also an excellent fat burning workout.
Balance, Stability and Weight Gain
Keeping your legs strong means you are preserving your body’s natural sense of balance and stability. As you grow older, and begin to neglect your body by not strength training, your muscles get weaker. Over time, those weak, un-toned muscles lose the ability to burn significant amounts of calories, which leads to lowered metabolism. This sets your body up for fat storage and weight gain. In turn, this leads to feeling sluggish and tired and having a sense of not wanting to do much of anything.
But why allow this to happen? You can avoid this progression by performing simple strength training moves that keep your body balanced and healthy and avoid all that weight gain. Squats, lunges and calf raises can be performed at home or while at work and are sufficient exercises to help you increase your lower body strength.
Once you get started and stick with it, you’ll automatically want to do more. In fact, your body will crave it. Studies have shown that people who strength train feel better about themselves because they can see and feel the improvements. If you feel better about yourself, you’re bound to perform better at your job. That makes for a better work environment for all involved.
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About the Author: Carol Dunlop is certified through FiTour as a Personal Trainer and through the American Red Cross as a CPR, AED and First Aid Instructor. She has competed and placed in several Fitness America and National Bodybuilding competitions. To receive your Free E-course “How to Burn Calories While you Sleep,” log on to www.optimumbodysculpting.com.
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