Discover the secret to weight maintenance
by Vanessa LaFaso Stolarski, Contributing Columnist
For decades, we as a nation generally believed cardiovascular exercises were the key to weight loss and longevity. Who remembers Olympic track stars and triathletes posing on Wheaties boxes? While it’s true that exercises like walking, swimming and biking are important for heart health, more recent research has shown that maintaining muscle mass percentage significantly slows the aging process.
As a bonus, muscle mass also helps our ability to avoid joint pain and unwanted weight gain. If you think about it, it’s logical. Your muscles not only help you feel strong and capable, but they also support your skeleton. The less muscle tissue you have, the more prone you are to joint pain. Additionally, muscles allow us to take in more “couch calories.” Because muscles burn calories at rest, if we stay muscular, we don’t have to work quite so hard to maintain a healthy weight. Yes, you read that correctly. The more muscle mass you have, the less you have to work to maintain a healthy weight.
Bands are a safe way to achieve increased muscle with a low risk of injury.
Weightlifting is one way to add muscle. If you’ve never tried weightlifting before, or it’s been a few years, start with resistance bands. Bands are a very safe way to achieve increased muscle with a very low risk of injury. Most come in varying widths from least resistant to most.
Owning a whole set will allow you to increase the difficulty as you grow stronger. One of the keys to building muscle is challenging yourself, so it’s a good idea to increase your reps or resistance as soon as the movement becomes too easy. Safely challenging yourself is the key.