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How to improve your strength and flexibility

Strength and flexibility exercises will help you increase muscle strength, maintain bone density, improve balance and reduce joint pain.

What are strength exercises?

A strength exercise is any activity that makes your muscles work harder than usual.

This increases your muscles’ strength, size, power and endurance.

The activities involve using your body weight or working against a resistance.

Examples of muscle-strengthening activities include:

  • lifting weights
  • working with resistance bands
  • heavy gardening, such as digging and shovelling
  • climbing stairs
  • hill walking
  • push-ups
  • dance
  • weightlifting

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How often should I do strength and flexibility exercises?

It’s a good idea to do muscle-strengthening activities that work all the major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms) on 2 or more days a week.

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No specific amount of time is recommended, but a typical training session could take less than 20 minutes.

Exercises should be performed to the point at which it would be difficult to do another repetition without help.

A repetition is 1 complete movement of an activity, like lifting a weight or doing 1 push-up or 1 sit-up.

Try to do 8 to 12 repetitions for each activity, which counts as 1 set.

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Try to do at least 2 sets of muscle-strengthening activities, but to gain even more benefits, do 3 sets.

Remember to start gradually and build up over a period of weeks.

There are no specific recommendations for how much time you should spend on flexibility exercises.

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