Attending a regular yoga class can help you strengthen a variety of muscles.
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Boosting muscular strength can help you build stamina, lose weight and reduce your risk of injury. However, with more than 600 muscles in the body to choose from, it's easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer number of workout options. While activities like weightlifting can garner quick results by targeting specific muscle groups, alternative options, such as yoga, can offer the benefits of a full-body workout. For best results, talk to your doctor before starting a strength-training regimen to make sure you are healthy enough to participate.
Mention weightlifting and chances are images of bulky bodybuilders come to mind. Fortunately, weightlifters nowadays have a variety of exercise tools at their disposal, ranging from weighted barbells to kettlebells and dumbbells. You may be tempted to try and lift the heaviest weight you can, but MayoClinic.com recommends selecting weights just heavy enough to tire out your muscles after 12 to 15 repetitions. Select workouts that target a variety of different muscles, such as your arms, chest, legs, back, abs or shoulders. For maximum strength gains, engage in at least three 30-minute weight-training sessions each week.
Like pushups, yoga poses are natural resistance exercises that use your own body weight to build muscle. When you perform a yoga pose, your body taps multiple muscles to help maintain the unnatural position. This means your core, posterior and thigh muscles are constantly getting worked throughout a yoga class, creating a full-body workout. Unlike many strength-training activities, yoga combines stretching and strengthening maneuvers in order to build muscles that are long, sleek and lean, according to the Gaiam Life website.
Martial arts is another activity that can help you develop muscular strength. Disciplines such as karate, taekwondo, boxing and mixed martial arts prescribe intensive workouts designed to tone your entire body. Whether you're punching boards or bags, martial arts can provide a significant workout for your arms, legs and core muscles. When selecting a martial art for strength purposes, avoid styles that shy away from punches and strikes, such as jiujutsu and aikido. These disciplines will likely focus more on joint locks and takedowns than building muscle.
Hiking and Jogging
It's easy to forget that your heart needs just as much exercise as your other muscles. Activities like hiking and jogging engage your cardiovascular system by forcing your heart to work harder to supply fresh blood and oxygen to your muscles. Keeping your heart rate elevated for 30 minutes or more at a time is crucial for developing stamina and endurance in your heart. Along with its cardiovascular benefits, hiking at a vigorous pace can burn between 438 and 654 calories per hour, according to MayoClinic.com.