How to build Strength Training and Stretching into your exercise routine

Now our cardio is improving, and we’re doing a couple of sessions of exercise each week, I’d like to talk about how to build Strength Training and Stretching into your exercise routine.

Why is Strength Training important?

There is, quite simply, loads of research to say that strength training is important. We lose between 3 to 8 percent of our muscle mass each decade. Strength training can help to minimise that. It can also help to boost our metabolism and make our cardio workouts more effective.

It also tones us up. Personally, my arms and back are actually fairly strong. I’m used to picking up – and carrying for fairly long periods of time – a sturdy toddler. I carry boxes full of exercise books pretty easily. But for me – and I think many women are like this – my core is not so strong.

So I’m going to focus on building in planks and sit-ups into my routine. You might want to do press-ups, use weights, or follow some of the strength training videos on YouTube. (As an aside, isn’t YouTube an AMAZING resource? I am loving FitnessBlender especially.)

What about stretching?

I kind of always thought stretching was a bit of a waste of time, to be honest. Now, I do really enjoy doing it, especially after long days of carrying a toddler around! I think stretching – which ideally should be done 3-6 times a week – is something you can do while you are doing other things. So 10 minutes of stretching while you’re watching TV or on the phone to your mother is an easy way of doing it.

If you want to take your stretching further, again, there are loads of videos on YouTube, or you could easily join a class.

This week’s challenge: How to build Strength Training and Stretching into your exercise routine

Step 1: Decide what two activities you are going to do regularly (every other day or every day) to improve your strength.

Step 2: See how many of your chosen activity you can do. Aim to increase it by a small amount each session.

Step 3: Choose three stretches to do. Try to do them 3-6 times a week.

Step 4: Celebrate! You are making amazing progress. Take some measurements with a tape measure and see how you tone up.

Ready for the next step? Head over to How to organise your health.

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