Getting Started

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By: Ron Zacker

If you’ve never lifted weights before, you may be intimidated by the idea. Here are some manageable and inexpensive ways to start doing resistance exercise without joining a gym.

Water Aerobics

The water itself provides resistance to your limbs as you move your arms and legs in the pool. It is a relatively painless way to introduce a kind of resistance exercise into your life.

Exercise Videotapes

There are strength-training videotapes that walk you through a routine, all in the comfort of your own home. These videos may incorporate bodyweight exercises, household “weights” (such as soup cans or water bottles) or resistance bands (lengths of stretchy rubberized tubing) in the routine. Some will use more traditional equipment such as dumbbells or barbells. Check with your public library to see what videotapes they have available.

Books and Magazines

There are many well-written resources available to show you simple, do-it-at-home resistance exercises. One is “Exercise: A Guide From the National Institute on Aging.” You can obtain a copy by calling (800) 222-2225.

Community Resources

Many community-based wellness, recreation and senior centers offer group strength exercise classes that are reasonably priced. These groups are very “user friendly” and are ideal for beginners.

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