A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic

Strength and conditioning: Something for everyone

Fitness terms and workout plans abound.

Strength and conditioning exercises are often recommended. What does this pairing do for your health and fitness?

Marshfield Clinic athletic trainer Sam Joswiak provides answers.

“It’s a general fitness term to involve a variety of exercise including resistance training (strength) and cardiovascular training (conditioning). It might also include flexibility training like yoga,” Joswiak said.

Young woman working out at home doing planks - Strength and conditioning

There are inexpensive alternatives to machines, weights and gym memberships. Try bands or body-weight exercises.

How is strength and conditioning beneficial?

Like all exercise, pairing strength and conditioning provides a number of benefits:

  • Improves mental health.
  • Lowers resting blood pressure.
  • Helps manage health conditions.
  • Builds muscle and endurance.
  • Simplifies daily activities.

“Many older adults are afraid to start something new, but strength and conditioning can make daily activities easier to manage and decrease stiffness that often comes with aging,” Joswiak said.

Will it cost time and money?

Strength and conditioning doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive. These are misconceptions people often associate with new workout routines.

“Find someone to help you initiate a strength and conditioning program, someone who can identify your starting point and goals, and provide exercise modifications,” he said.

  • Time: Just 10-15 minute time chunks of strength and conditioning a few times throughout your day can provide health benefits. Other exercise prescriptions vary depending on the type of training.
  • Equipment and expenses: There are inexpensive alternatives to machines, weights and gym memberships. Try bands or body-weight exercises.

Can I find strength and conditioning workouts online?

Yes, but be careful.

“Take caution with generic workouts you find online. We all have different starting points and limitations,” Joswiak said. “Consider talking to a professional to get started with a strength and conditioning program specific to your needs.”

Talk with your provider prior to beginning a program of regular physical activity.

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