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Muscle Strengthening Activities: What Counts?

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Besides regular aerobic activity, good health and wellness comes from doing exercises to strengthen your muscles at least two days a week. These activities should work all the major muscle groups of your body. That means your legs, hips, back, chest, abdomen, shoulders, and arms.

You can do muscles strengthening activities on the same or different days that you do aerobic activity. Do whatever works best for you and your schedule. But do keep in mind that muscle strengthening activities don't count toward your aerobic activity total.

Exercisers There are many ways you can strengthen your muscles, whether you prefer to do so at home or at the gym. You may want to try the following:

To gain health benefits, strength training activities need to be done to the point where you find it difficult to do another repetition with your weight(s) without help. A repetition - commonly known as a "rep" among weight lifters - is one complete movement of an activity, like lifting a weight in an bicep curl, or doing a sit-up. Try to do 8 to 12 repetitions per activity that count as 1 set. When you're new at muscle strengthening, try to do at least one full set of muscle strengthening activities. As you grow your strength, you can continue to gain even more benefits by doing two or three sets of each exercise.

What if I have a disability?
If you are an adult with a disability, regular physical activity can provide you with important health benefits, like a stronger heart, lungs, and muscles, improved mental health, and a better ability to do everyday tasks. It's best to talk with your health care provider before you begin a physical activity routine. Try to get advice from a professional with experience in physical activity and disability. They can tell you more about the amounts and types of physical activity that are appropriate for you and your abilities.

Freebie: Simple Muscle Chart Diagram (PDF)

Simply click the image if you would like to download a PDF copy of the muscle chart.

Freebie - Simple Muscle Chart

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