A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic Health System

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 Health System physical therapist Melissa Aul provides answers.

“Strength and conditioning is a term for exercise or activity that uses resistance training (strength) but also includes repetition or sustained activity for cardiovascular effects (conditioning). A good work out plan also will add a balance and flexibility component, like yoga,” Aul 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.

“A good exercise routine ideally will lead to a noticeable improvement in your ability to do your day to day activity, manage joint stiffness that comes with aging, and confidence to try something new,” Aul 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.

“Choose a program that seems “doable” for your starting ability but allows for a gradual progression of difficulty. Keep trying programs until you find one that you enjoy and feel good about doing regularly. If you are looking for the structure and “company” of an online video class that doesn’t require equipment or skill, try walkathome.com,” she 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 any online program,” Aul said. “Consider talking to a doctor, physical therapist, athletic trainer or personal trainer 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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