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Exercise, physical activity, resistance training: simple fitness plan guidelines and at-home exercise options for better health you can start today.

Strength training can be simply defined as engaging in any exercise or physical training. A workout plan is most commonly described as an exercise session designed to improve fitness for an athletic competition, or is a schedule of planned exercises designed to achieve a specific goal.

How to Start Strength Training

Start with a lighter weight. Begin with a weight that you can comfortably lift 15 to 30 times.

A single set of 12 to 15 repetitions with a weight that fatigues the muscles can build strength efficiently for most beginners. Gradually increase the amount of weight or reps as you gain strength.

Use proper form. Take time to learn how to properly perform each exercise. Lifting weights effectively requires you to move through the entire range of motion without pain. The better your form, the less likely you are to injure yourself. If you can't maintain good form, reduce the weight, or the number of repetitions. Remember that proper form is important even when picking up weights or returning them to the rack.

Strength Training Recommendations

If you're unsure whether you're performing an exercise correctly, seek advice from a personal trainer or certified fitness professional.

Breathe - while lifting weights; you may be tempted to hold your breath. Don't and make sure to breathe comfortably during each repetition. One simple cue often used is to exhale while lifting and inhale while lowering the weight.

Rest - Avoid working out the same muscles twice in a row. You could work all of your major muscle groups in a single session two or three times per week, or you could schedule daily sessions for specific muscle groups. For example, on Monday, work your arms and shoulders, on Tuesday, and so on.

Strength training exercises for all major muscle groups should be included in a fitness routine at least twice a week, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Please consult with a doctor before starting any workout or fitness program. This is especially important if you haven't exercised in a long time, if you have any health concerns, if you're pregnant, or if you're an older adult. Please speak with your doctor to determine the amount of exercise that is appropriate for you.

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