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Photo of a man and a woman standing at a gym weight rackActive living
Tone up
Tips for lifting weights
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By Susie Strachan
May/June 2018

Is a lack of strength taking a toll on your everyday activities? If so, you may want to consider improving your muscle tone.

Regular weight lifting can help you stay active and independent, and also alleviate conditions that come with aging, such as weight gain, body stiffness and pains. It can even make you happier.

In this video series, Wes Pomarensky, a kinesiologist and personal trainer at the Wellness Institute at Seven Oaks Hospital, demonstrates how to perform five different muscle-building exercises at home.

Each of the exercises can be done with your body weight only, or by using small hand weights and a length of rubber tubing. If you don't have hand weights, look around your home for items like canned food, a small bag of rice, a large bottle of ketchup or a bag of apples. You can also load a cloth grocery bag with items, and use the handles for lifting.

Pomarensky suggests starting with a five-minute circuit through the exercises, before gradually building to a 20-minute circuit. This means doing each exercise for a small number of repetitions (five to 10) and then having a short rest before you perform the next exercise. Gradually build up the number of repetitions you can perform.

Don't perform the exercises quickly. You build more muscle when you do them slowly, according to Pomarensky, and there's less chance you might damage your muscles. Your muscles should be sore, but not painful to the point of muscle strain.