Our fitness expert, Michele Stanten, is a walking coach and author of three books on exercise

Strength training is an essential component of any fitness plan, including one that involves walking. Toning your muscles makes walking easier, allows you to increase your speed, and protects your joints from injuries.

Strength training also combats age-related muscle loss that can make everyday activities such as carrying groceries or climbing up the stairs more challenging. Plus, a recent study found that higher muscle mass is related to improved insulin resistance.

These two exercises use your body weight to increase your strength. Do them two or three times a week on nonconsecutive days. Start with one set of the repetitions recommended here. As the moves get easier, add a set or two for each exercise.

Push-Ups

  1. Place your hands slightly farther apart than shoulder width on the floor (or on a sturdy waist-high counter or desk—the higher the surface the easier the push-ups will be).
  2. Walk your feet back so that your legs are outstretched, and balance on your toes.
  3. Bend your elbows out to the sides and slowly lower your chest as close to the floor, counter, or desk as possible.
  4. Hold for a second, then slowly straighten your arms.

Do eight to 12 times.

Squats

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, arms at your sides.
  2. Slowly bend your hips and knees, lowering your buttocks as if you're sitting back into a chair. Let your arms swing forward to help you balance.
  3. Hold for a second, then slowly stand back up.

Do eight to 12 times.

From our sister publication Diabetes Focus Spring 2015

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at Healthcommunities.com

Published: 23 Feb 2015

Last Modified: 23 Feb 2015