Showing you why muscle exercises aren’t just for men!

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The graph above shows what happens to your muscle strength if you don’t exercise your muscles. After 5 weeks without muscle exercises, your muscle strength will drop to 65% of what it was before you stopped exercising, even if you’re a woman!

Why do I need to exercise my muscles?

We need our muscles to carry out any movement in our bodies. Without any muscle exercises, performing daily tasks becomes slower, more difficult and takes much more effort than it would if your muscle strength was at optimum.

Never forget that something as simple as lifting your arm requires your muscles to move, tensing and relaxing. Now even though this is a very simple action, you shouldn’t take it for granted.

Our muscles are essentially groups of protein warehouses. Most of the protein in our bodies is stored in these muscles. Now of course, we need protein to build and repair new cells (something we learnt in our early school years). But we aren’t always going to eat the EXACT amount of protein that our body needs, every day.

So how much protein does my body need every day?

According to the GDA/RDA’s you need about 45g – 55g of protein every day. But, it is often beneficial to eat a little more than this, especially before and after an exercise routine.

Our bodies respond the best to protein immediately before and after exercise as it helps improve your recovery time and the effectiveness of the exercise routine.

45g-55g of Protein should be a baseline of how much you need every day. You should always try to consume additional protein, (in the form of a protein drink for example) before and after exercise, even if you’re a woman, alongside a balanced diet.

Can I eat too much protein?

Of course! But you can eat too much of anything. Remember that most protein comes from the meat and beans food group, which forms only 15% of a balanced diet. So as long as you have a balanced diet you shouldn’t have to worry about consuming too much protein.

So what happens if I don’t eat enough protein?

Simple really. Just like the supermarkets, our bodies “re-order” stock from the warehouse, that being our muscles. So our muscles sacrifice its protein to give our bodies what it needs.

Have you noticed the problem with this yet?

When our muscles “sacrifice” its protein, those muscles, weaken. Now even if you realise this and eat some extra protein the next day your muscles won’t magically grow back to its original size! Any extra protein that our body can’t use will be treated as waste. As this process repeats itself, our muscles will steadily get weaker and weaker. This is represented by the graph. And as our muscular strength plummets, so does our flexibility.

I’m not really fussed. I barely use my muscles.

Remember, ANY movement of your body requires the use of muscles.

If you continue to neglect your muscles by not exercising them, they will shorten. It’ll be a constant cycle of sacrificed protein, weaker muscles, and shorter muscles.

Eventually, you’ll become susceptible to back pains, joint pains and make it harder for you to do simple things like hold your arm up.

So how can I prevent these symptoms?

With simple exercises that increase your muscle strength. Like I said earlier, you don’t need to be a body builder but you need to do some exercise. As you stimulate your muscles your muscles will grow and so too will your flexibility.

You’ll also feel more comfortable when you want to relax. As you exercise, you’ll release the tension in your muscles making it easier to feel calm. Muscular strength will also make it easier for you to exercise aerobically. Stuff like walking up hills, jogging and swimming.

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Do I have to spend a lot of money to build my muscles?

Absolutely not. I said this in the aerobic page and I’ll say it again:

You don’t need to go to the gym, to get a good work out! Simple, FREE workouts are just as effective and sometimes better. You don’t even need to spend as much time as you would in the gym.

I will however recommend using ab exercise equipment like an exercise ball (AKA Fitness Ball and Swiss Ball) as this home exercise equipment is cheap and effective.

An exercise ball is not just useful as an ab exercise equipment, as it can help tone your body and improve your flexibility and balance!

So how can I exercise my muscles on a low budget?

There are a number of ways to effectively exercise your muscles (in or out of the gym) without breaking the bank and they are all based around the 3 fundamental elements of exercise.