I love list posts.  They are so easy to write, and even easier to read.  If only adopting the habit they propose were so easy…

But in this case, it is!  Resistance training is not difficult to do.  You don’t need to join a gym.  There is no requirement for fancy equipment or expensive clothing.  While a routine does take a little bit of time, you will begin to see and feel significant results in as little as 20 minutes 2 or (ideally) 3 sessions per week.  You could multitask, and do your routine while watching Scrubs reruns.  How simple is that?

Your own body weight can provide all the resistance you want or need, or if you are so inclined, you can purchase some very reasonably priced resistance tubing to use in your living room.

Here’s the trick.  Don’t fall for the fitness magazine articles that suggest complex moves, or drop sets, or supersets, or unbelievably crazy-sets.  Pick exercises that target multiple muscle groups like squats, lunges, front and side plank, or good old fashioned push-ups, and just start doing them!  Here is why you should start today:

Reason 1) Resistance training is a friend of your metabolism.  Why is this?  As you begin to overload your muscles beyond what they are used to, you injure them slightly (don’t go for major injury…that doesn’t do any good at all).  You cause little tiny microtears in the muscle fibers, and this is why you are sore one or two days later.  But this is good news, because as your muscle fibers heal, they become stronger and bigger.  You add muscle mass, and over time, this increases your metabolic rate.

How does that work?  Body fat doesn’t do much.  It just sits there and looks back at you in the
mirror.  It doesn’t use up much energy.  Heck, it doesn’t even need much of a blood supply since it requires so little maintenance.  As a result, it burns very few calories.

On the other hand, muscle is very active.  It requires food (glucose and amino acids) and burns tons of calories by just being there.  Clearly, if you want to be a lean, mean, calorie burning machine, you want as much muscle as you can get.

Reason 2) Muscle, because it requires glucose and amino acids, is very sensitive to insulin.  Insulin opens the doorway to  to the little muscle cells, so glucose and amino acids can get in.  If you are insulin resistant, as in Type II diabetes  (and possibly CFRD), lifting weights will increase your insulin sensitivity as you build muscle mass.  A finely tuned insulin sensitivity mechanism is required for a stable blood glucose level, which leads to good health.

Reason 3) This is a big one for me, and maybe you can relate.  Building muscle and feeling and being strong physically is one area of my life where having cystic fibrosis doesn’t even matter!  My lungs may not be the best in the gym, but I will take on any woman my age in a push up or pull up contest!  This is a very empowering feeling…I have at least a modicum of control over my body which is otherwise at the mercy of my lung status.  Now, some days my lungs even interfere with my time at the gym, and that is OK.  I know that when I recover, I will be back, strutting around the gym with the big boys, knowing that my muscle fibers are no different than theirs:-)

If you have an illness other than CF, lifting may just provide the same benefit.  Lifting weights is a very black or white thing to do.  You do it and you see and feel results in as little as two or three weeks.  You have control of this.  It may not feel like you have control of much else, sometimes.  But you do have control over this.
Reason 4) More and more studies are showing that well-designed resistance training programs in post-treatment management of cancer patients and survivors are beneficial in improving health status and quality of life.   This is true in other chronic diseases as well.  Weight training is anabolic, meaning it builds up the body.  Often, treatment for illness is catabolic, or breaks down the body (think steroids or chemotherapy).  While these treatments are necessary, we can counter their bad side effect of breaking down tissue by weight training.

Reason 5) Weight training is fun!  Ok, maybe I’m in the minority thinking this, but stand by this statement.  When you get over the initial “I have no clue what I’m doing,” and move through the “Oh my God this huts,” you begin to see improvement!  And this is fun!

Are you ready to begin?  I’m starting a YouTube channel where I will teach easy, and very modifiable exercises that anyone can start doing today.  Check it out, and subscribe today!