If your idea of weightlifting is pumping heavy barbells in a sweaty gym, think again. You can improve your fitness easily, at home, with little cost or time.
Simple, light free-weights can do the trick, says Jaime Longval, MS, CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist), at the Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine in Providence, RI. Free-weights improve your balance and posture, burn calories and reduce your risk of osteoporosis, injury and low-back problems.
If you're just starting out, choose 2- or 3-pound weights with handle-type holds. You can even create homemade weights from empty milk containers filled with water, Longval says, or use unopened soup cans.
Check with your health care professional if you have any health concerns. Then, get started with this easy arm curl:
- Sit or stand with the weights in both hands, by your side, palms facing forward. (If standing, bend your knees slightly.)
- Keep abdominal muscles tight and your elbows by your side. Breathe normally.
- Bend your elbow to lift the weight (count 3 seconds). Bring down slowly (count 4 seconds). Don't move your shoulders.
- Control your movements. The biggest benefit comes as you bring the weight down.
- Do 8-12 repetitions, once a week. As you get stronger, increase to two or three times a week. You need at least one rest day after each lifting day.