By Katie Cunningham The Guardian
Regular strength training can help prevent injury – and you don’t have to leave your house to do it. Four physios share their go-to moves.
For the sake of our physical and mental health, GPs recommend that we exercise five times per week. But there can be more to think about than just getting our heart rate up – physiotherapists say it also pays to work on strengthening our muscles.
Why? For one, says physiotherapist Tristan Chai, having more muscle mass in our body helps with overall health. But we also need our muscles to be strong so that we don’t end up absorbing the impact of movement in the wrong places – an easy way to wind up with an injury or chronic pain.
“The step-up is a great all-round exercise for the lower body,” says Michael Gilbert of Active Answers Physiotherapy in Sydney. “It’s perfect for all fitness and strength levels and has a low risk of injury.”
Gilbert says regular step-ups will increase your quad and glute strength, which helps to protect your knee and hip joints. Doing one is as simple as stepping from the floor on to a bench or plyo box. “The great thing about the step-up is it strengthens each leg individually, which can help to build muscles equally on both sides,” he adds. “Having better strength will also increase your balance, and then ultimately the stronger you are, the less injured you’re going to get and the lower the risk of falling will be.”
It’s an exercise he personally vouches for: “I do it probably a few times a week in the gym with weights above my head to get the core working,” Gilbert says. But if you’re just starting out, he recommends using your bodyweight only and aiming for three sets of eight to 10 reps. You can add weight or increase your step size later on.
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