Why strength training may be the best thing you can do for your health

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I AM lying on my living room floor, my whole body shaking, along with 30 strangers, who I can just about glimpse on little squares on my laptop screen. If you would have told me a month ago this would be my new workout routine, I would have laughed you out of the room. Until now, fitness for me meant getting out and about, religiously racking up steps on my pedometer. Then London went into lockdown, and for the past few weeks I have barely left the house. But here’s the thing – in terms of health benefits, my new exercise regime is through the roof.

Unwittingly, these strange times have forced my habits in line with the latest thinking in exercise science. Aerobic exercise was once seen as the holy grail of fitness, but another kind of workout is just as important – if not more so. Something we can all do from the comfort of our homes without any equipment: strength training.

Our muscle strength peaks in our 30s, then slowly declines. Eventually, it can drop so much that we are unable to get out of chairs or climb stairs. It isn’t just older people who would benefit from improving their strength, though. We are discovering unexpected health boosts from building muscle for all adults that go way beyond simply being strong.

Strength training could add years of life and protect you from some major killers. Having stronger muscles seems to decrease the chance of getting cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer. There is even evidence that it can improve your memory and prevent cognitive decline.

Its importance is …

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