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strength training exercises for walkers

STRENGTH TRAINING

You can improve your appearance, strength, muscle to fat ratio, and even your walking performance by adding strength training to your walking routine.

Some benefits of strength training:

  • Improves metabolism
  • Tones and shapes muscles
  • Improves body image
  • Enhances work/sport performance (stronger)
  • Increases bone density
  • Positive changes in blood cholesterol
  • Improves glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity
  • Improves strength, balance, and functional ability in older adults

    Some tips to get your started:

    Always warm up prior to your strength training session. Do at least 5 to 10 minutes of any aerobic activity at a light intensity.

    After your warmup stretch the major muscles your will train. Stretching increases muscle flexibility and range of motion, and decreases risk of injury. Stretch after your warm up, between sets, and during the cool down period.

    For each muscle group also do one warm up set with a light weight. Then perform 1 to 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps each of the exercises for that muscle group.

    Rest a minimum of 30 seconds between sets. (This is a good time to stretch the muscles you are working.)

    During the first week of starting an exercise program keep it light. Work on technique-good body mechanics. Start out using the lightest weights or even no weights, and slowly increase to heavier weights.

    Maintain good body mechanics using a complete range of motion, move slowly and with control, breathe, and maintain good posture.

    Listen to your body. The old saying "no pain no gain" does not apply. You may be tired when beginning a strength training program and have muscle soreness ... but you should not be in pain.

    The MINIMUM amount of strength training recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine is eight to twelve repetitions of eight to ten exercises, at a moderate intensity, two days a week.

    You should allow your muscles to rest 48 hours or more before your next strength session. If you alternate muscle groups strength training can be done daily.

    After your workout finish off with a cool down period. Cool down using an aerobic activity for 5-10 minutes at a low intensity level. Then stretch all the muscles used during your workout.

    Be sure to talk to your physician if you feel your body is not ready for strength training for any reason. Get your physicians approval (before beginning or changing your fitness routine) if you:

  • smoke
  • have high cholesterol
  • are pregnant
  • extremely obese
  • have muscle or joint problems
  • have any cardiovascular or pulmonary disease
  • metabolic disease such as diabetes

    A Basic Beginners Program - You can easily begin a basic program at home using inexpensive dumbbells. Here is a sample of some basic exercises:

    Bench Press

    Lie on a bench (or use a step if you don't own a bench) with your legs slightly apart, knees bent and your feet firmly on the floor. Be sure your back is straight with your lower back pressed firmly toward the floor.

    Holding a dumbbell in each hand extend your arms above your chest with your palms facing away from your face. The dumbbells should almost touch each other above your chest, but never clink together. Elbows should remain unlocked.

    Slowly lower the dumbbells straight down to the sides of your chest with palms still facing away from your face. Your elbows should be pointing to the ground. Don't let your arms fall to the side. Lower slowly until your elbows are parallel to your shoulders.

    Then push the weights back to the starting position while flexing your chest.

    Perform 2 sets of 12 reps. each

    Once you are a little stronger you may want to add some push ups to the routine. Start with the following bent knee push up. Don't worry if you can only do a few. Progress as you can:

    Chest Fly

    Lie on your back in the same starting position above, back straight, knees bent, feet firmly on the floor.

    Hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing each other with your arms extended and slightly bent. (Your arms should almost form an oval and the dumbbells should be nearly touching each other above your chest).

    Slowly lower the dumbbells out and away from each other in a semicircular motion, until they are at chest level. Keep your elbows bent and wrists locked straight. Lower in a slow controlled manner, keeping elbows bent at all times.

    Raise the dumbbells to the starting position while flexing your chest. Keep your elbows bent and your back straight.

    Bent Knee Push Up

    Lie face down with your knees bent and feet in the air. Place your hands a little wider than shoulders at chest level.

    Keep your back straight and push yourself up extending your arms. Do not lock your elbows. Hold this position while flexing your chest.

    Then slowly lower yourself as far as you can, or until your nose touches the ground. Your back and hips should still be straight, while your elbows point out.

    Raise to the beginning position. Perform one set of 12 to 15 reps.

    Front Shoulder Raise

    Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, abs tight, and your knees slightly bent. Your shoulders should be back, chest out, and back straight with a slight forward lean.

    Hold a dumbbell in each hand in front of your thighs, palms facing your body and elbows slightly bent.

    Raise one dumbbell upwards until it is a little higher than shoulder level, keeping your palms facing down. Be sure not to lock your elbows. (Your arm will be parallel to the floor in the raised position.)

    Slowly raise the other arm as you lower the first dumbbell. Alternate arms until you have completed the set. Don't swing your arms, slowly raise then lower the dumbbell.

    Perform 2 sets of 20 reps (since you are alternating arms 20 reps is only 10 per arm)

    One Arm Row

    Place your left knee and left hand on a bench holding your back flat and parallel to the floor. Keep your back in a neutral position throughout the exercise.

    Place your right foot firmly on the floor. Hold a dumbbell in your right hand allowing your arm hang down toward the floor. Let the weight of the dumbbell stretch your back.

    Pull the weight up towards your body raising it to your rib cage. Your right elbow should be pointing up toward the ceiling as you lift. Do not allow it to move out away from your body.

    Return to the starting position in a slow, controlled manner. Perform 2 sets of 12 reps. Repeat with left arm.

    Tricep Kickback

    Place your left knee and left hand on a bench holding your back flat and parallel to the floor. Place your right foot firmly on the floor. Keep your back in a neutral position throughout the exercise.

    Hold a light dumbbell in your right hand, with your palms facing the side of your body. Hold your elbow high and keep your upper arm (from your shoulder to your elbow) in a stationary position parallel to the floor. Do not let your elbow swing out away from your body

    Extend the your forearm up until your arm is straight and fully extended and your triceps are contracted (flexed). Hold for a brief second flexing your triceps.

    Return the weight to the starting position in a slow, controlled manner. Don't let your elbow move out away from your body and be sure to keep your upper arm stationary at all times.

    Perform 2 sets of 12 reps. Repeat with left arm

    Bicep Curl

    Stand with your back straight and your feet hip-width apart. Do not lock your knees.

    Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your arms straight down and your palms facing forward.

    Keeping your elbows close to your body, use your biceps to curl the dumbbells up to chest level. Your palms should now be facing your shoulder. Keep your back straight and do not rock or sway your body to lift the weight. The biceps should do all the work.

    Hold briefly, flexing your biceps. Keep your wrist straight and elbows at your sides throughout the exercise. Lower the dumbbells to the starting position in a slow, controlled manner.

    Perform 2 sets of 12 reps.

    Concentration Curl

    Sit on a flat exercise bench with your feet about shoulder-width apart, and knees bent. Hold a dumbbell in your right hand with your palm facing away from your body.

    Bend forward and place your right arm between your legs, bracing your elbow and upper arm against the inside of your thigh. Lean slightly into your leg, keeping your elbow braced and rest your left hand on your left thigh.

    Slowly raise the dumbbell up toward your shoulder, keeping your wrist straight, and your elbow braced.

    Hold briefly, flexing your biceps. Then slowly lower to the starting position.

    Perform 2 sets of 12 reps. Then repeat with left arm

    Squats

    Stand upright with arms extended by your sides. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing in toward your side.

    Place your feet a little wider than hip-width apart, abs tight and your upper back upright with your lower back maintaining a natural curve.

    Squat (sit back) keeping your shins almost perpendicular to the floor. Do not squat too low. Thighs should be parallel to the floor. Keep good posture throughout the exercise. Your upper back straight and your lower back slightly arched. Be sure you are sitting back - do not allow knees to move farther forward than your toes.

    Now stand up to the starting position forcing your hips in and your head up.

    Perform 2 sets of 12 reps.

    Lunges

    Stand upright with arms extended by your sides. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing in toward your side.

    Take a step forward with your left foot and step back with your right foot about six inches.

    Keeping your feet in this position and your upper body straight, slowly lower your buttocks until both legs are bent at a 90 degree angle. Do not allow your front knee move farther forward than your toes.

    Raise to the beginning position. Perform one set of 12 to 15 reps. Then switch legs and repeat on the opposite side.

    Standing Calf Raise

    Hold a dumbbell in your right hand with your arms down and your palm toward your outer thigh.

    Stand with only the ball of your right foot on a step allowing your heel and arch to extend off the step stretching toward the floor. You may need to hold on to the wall with your left hand for balance.

    Keep your knees straight and raise up on your toes as high as possible. Hold briefly while flexing your calf. Then slowly return to the starting position. Perform 2 sets of 12 reps. Then switch legs and repeat on the opposite side.

    Pelvic Lifts

    Lie with your back flat on the floor, knees bent and feet hip width apart. Place your arms on the floor with your palms facing down.

    Slowly lift your buttocks by tilting your pelvis up, and tightening your buttocks and abdomen. Hold briefly, and squeeze your buttocks together.

    Then slowly lower yourself to the starting position. Keep a straight back throughout the exercise.

    Perform one set of 15 to 20 reps.

    Crunches

    Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor about hip width apart. Hands may be crossed on your chest, by your side, or cupped behind your ears.

    Tighten your abs as you breath out and lift your shoulders off the floor. Lift as high as possible while keeping your lower back pressed into the floor.

    Breath in slowly, lowering yourself back to the starting position.

    Perform one set of 15 to 20 reps.

    Oblique Crunches

    Lie flat on your back with your right knee bent and your right foot flat on the floor. Cross your left foot over your right knee. Place your left hand on the floor to your side and your right hand cupped behind your head.

    Tighten your abs as you breath out and lift your right shoulder off the floor toward your left side. Lift as high as possible while keeping your lower back pressed into the floor. Hold briefly while flexing your obliques.

    Breath in slowly, lowering yourself back to the starting position.

    Perform one set of 15 to 20 reps.Then repeat on the other side.


    Exercises for Healthier Knees