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VidaCura Newsletter VidaCura Newsletter: Taking Care of Ourselves: Health and Wellness Information You Can Use
Health and Wellness Information You Can Use
  resistance bands workout
  Don’t begin a workout program without first consulting your physician.
Resistance Bands Give Good Workouts

If you’re a woman of a certain age and wondering if there’s anything “easy” you can to do to tone up back, arm and leg muscles and flab, a recently published article in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research is going to make your day.

The article showed conclusively that a low-intensity workout program can decrease body fat, increase muscle tone and mass, and increase power and endurance in middle-aged women.

More to the point, the study showed these results could be achieved without joining a health club or purchasing costly workout machines or equipment to use at home. All you need is a resistance band* (or resistance tube*). The colorful bands – which started out as rehab tools about 25 years ago but have worked their way into the exercise mainstream – go by many names: stretch bands, exercise bands, flex bands, bodywork bands, etc.

Noted the study’s authors: Resistance bands – which strengthen muscles in much the same way that lifting weights does – are very affordable: depending on length and resistance (i.e. thickness), they usually cost between $5 and $15. They allow you to do more range-of-motion exercises. They let you exercise sitting or standing and at your own level and pace, which makes them an excellent option for those with balance problems or limited mobility. And, because they are lightweight and easy to pack, they can be used anyplace.

Getting Started
Don’t begin a workout program without first consulting your physician, and when you get his or her OK, make it a thorough workout. “In any type of resistance training it is important to do a general warm-up and range of motion exercises for your joints. A warm-up increases blood flow to the muscles and joints and prepares the body for an increased work load. And it reduces risk of injury from resistance training,” says Dr. Michael S. Willett, Associate Chair of the University of Indianan’s Department of Kinesiology and Director of the President’s Challenge Program.

New York City-based fitness trainer and author Joan Pagano, suggests the following easy-does-it exercises.
For each one, try to do 8-10 repetitions at least three times per session. “But,” stresses Pagano, “work up to that slowly.”

Double Bicep Curl (works shoulder, arm and wrist muscles).
1. Grasp the ends of the band in each hand so that it forms a U at your feet.
2. Step onto the band and position your feet so they are a few inches apart and you can maintain your balance.
3. With both clenched palms facing forward, bend your elbows and pull the band up to your shoulders and hold it there for a few seconds. If you can’t reach your shoulders, the band may be too short or you may be using one with too much resistance.
4. Slowly return to the starting position.
Note: This exercise can also be done while seated.

Seated Leg Lift (works abdominal and leg muscles).
1. Sit in a well balanced chair and, while grasping the ends of the band in each hand, place one foot onto the flattened band.
2. Take in the band on both sides (by wrapping it around your hand) till you feel a gentle pressure on the bottom of your foot.
3. Using the underside of the foot, push the band forward and up till the leg is parallel to the floor and hold that position for a few seconds. If you can’t raise the leg all the way up, raise it as far as you can.
4. Slowly return foot to the starting position.
5. Repeat with the other foot.

Shopping for workout bands
Bands (and tubes) come in two styles: latex and, for those who are allergic to that, rubber. Tubes can be purchased with or without D-shaped handles.

The biggest mistake people make when buying workout bands is buying them too short. To ensure proper “fit,” get bands that approximate your height. To ensure that you’ll be able to use the same band as you become more adept at their use, stronger and more fit, choose bands in the medium to medium-heavy range. And, if you’ll be doing ankle-leg exercises, get a loop band.

Taking care of resistance bands
Never stretch bands (or tubes) more than three times their length.
Store bands and tubes in a dark, cool place.
Remove jewelry when using resistance bands and avoid scratching, scrapping, or puncturing them.
Clean bands by swish washing them in tepid water using mild soap. Rinse in cool water then drape over a towel-covered rack to dry.

8 Weeks to a Younger Body, Joan Pagano, 2007

The Great Strength Tubing Handbook, Andre Noel Potvin, 2007

The Resistance Band Workout Book, Ed McNeely and David Sandler, 2006

Videos and DVD Resources:
10 Minute Solution: Slim and Sculpt Pilates, Susanne Bowen (intermediate, includes resistance band) (DVD)

SPRI ® On-line Exercise Videos (free)

Sit and Be Fit: Tone and Stretch, Mary Ann Wilson, RN, (beginner) (DVD, VHS)

August 2009
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Resistance Bands
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