Working Out Without Breaking a Sweat
It's too hot, it's too cold, it's raining, it's snowing, the car is in the shop...whatever the reason, sometimes you just can't--or don't want to – get to the gym or even go outside for a walk. That doesn't mean you have to skip a workout though. One alternative? Resistance bands. They’re inexpensive, portable, and a simple way to get that daily dose of exercise to help you maintain your overall health and lower your risk of cancer.
By using resistance bands, explains AICR exercise physiologist Mary Kennedy, you’re challenging your muscles in order to increase their strength and/or endurance. You can do this effectively by using either weights or resistance bands; using bands for some exercises and weights for others will add variety to your routine. (If you’re new to exercise or have ongoing health concerns, check with your healthcare provider before getting started.)
Kennedy recommends setting a goal of completing 8 to 10 different exercises that target all major muscle groups. Aim to complete at least one set of 8 to 12 repetitions of each.
There isn’t one best type of resistance band; which type you use is based on individual preference. Bands range in price from about $6 to $20, depending on the “extras.” Basic bands are a simple strip of rubber, while more expensive bands can have extras such as padded handles. Each type will allow you to effectively complete a resistance training routine. The choice comes down to comfort – a band should be easy and comfortable to use. It’s a good idea to start with something simple and then move on to more sophisticated bands as you become more proficient.
Which color band you choose should be based on the exercises you will perform with the bands and your current level of ability. Each color signifies a level of tension, usually ranging from light to heavy. (There isn’t a universal color-coding system, so check the package to find out the tension level for the brand you’ve chosen.) Consider buying a few bands with different levels of tension because some muscle groups may be stronger than others. If you’re new to resistance training, start out using a “light” tension band and master the technique before you challenge yourself with a heavier tension.
Remember, resistance training with bands should be fun! In the beginning, don’t worry too much about how much you are able to do – just get started. Consider getting a group of friends together to join you; listen to your favorite music to keep yourself motivated; or work out while watching a movie. Exercise doesn’t have to be boring to be effective.
To see how the bands work, watch our video at where you’ll see Mary Kennedy demonstrate three simple 1-minute resistance band exercises to get you started.