I was so stiff before I started strength training. Being a software engineer means I spend a lot of time at my desk and there wasn’t a day when I didn’t feel pain in my shoulders and back. It had come to a head one day when I realized I really needed to do something about it, and made the decision right there and then. I have to say that I learned a lot on this journey. I worked with a lot of professionals who knew what they were doing, and I want to share what I learned with you.
Strength training might sound very daunting, even more than doing cardio on a treadmill, but if you take it seriously and commit to it, I believe you’ll fall in love with it just like I did. It has many benefits – it strengthens your bones and joints, it releases endorphins and activates your metabolism, and it helps you keep the excess weight off by burning calories even when you’re not doing anything.
The best way to start is to start with your own weight. Strength training means using resistance in order to activate your muscles and make them work, so when you’re a beginner, doing any exercise that gets you out of your comfort zone and challenges your muscles, is a great start.
Bodyweight exercises include squats and push-ups, and with time, you can start using some lighter dumbbells to increase the resistance. I started with two sets of eight repetitions, then slowly increased the repetitions, and then the sets. I think this approach would work for most people. But make sure that you monitor your body during your workout. It’s more important to do fewer repetitions, but do them correctly, than do a lot of them incorrectly and then strain yourself!
In addition, I’d like to stress this: since you’re gonna be taking a lot more showers, it’s important that your skin doesn’t get irritated if the water in your home is hard. I recommend that you measure the hardness of the water (see TanklessCenter), and if needed, buy a showerhead filter. After a workout, your skin’s pH needs to be properly maintained, and hard water disrupts this. Before I got the filter, I noticed that my skin started flaking because it was dried out, and then it took a couple of weeks to get it back to normal, so, pay attention to this.
Having said all that, strength training made me feel like a new person. I have a lot more energy and more creative ideas at work. I hope I’ll keep becoming better at it, and I hope I inspired you to give it a try!