When you exercise, it is not just to lose weight; it is also to make your body stronger. You need to build strength in order to make it fitter, protect it from a number of diseases including osteoporosis and arthritis and age-related illnesses. Now, a new research has revealed that weak upper and lower body fitness could lead to serious depression and anxiety in midlife women — premenopausal, perimenopausal, and postmenopausal women.
The study published in the Journal of the North American Menopause Society found that weak upper body strength which includes poor handgrip strength and poor lower body strength was associated with elevated depression and/or anxiety symptoms. This could mean that if you do strengthening exercises, you could help reduce depression and anxiety in midlife. It is important to know how to build upper body strength. Here are a few tips that will help you:
Squats are great for improving both lower and upper body strength. Just keep your legs hip-width apart and your hands in front of you. Bend your knees till they are just above your toes. Do 15 reps.
The basic pushups and variations of pushups really work on your upper body area. Pushups, when done regularly, can help tone up the body, especially the chest, shoulders and collar bones. It can also help you burn fat and calories and build immense core strength. To do pushups, you need to get down on all fours. Keep your hands shoulder-width apart and your feet close together. Bending your elbows, lower down your body till it is just above the ground. Push yourself back up. Do a set of five pushups five times.
Crunches are also an amazing workout for your upper body especially your abdomen. Lie down on the floor and lock your feet behind a bar or take the support of a wall. Keep your hands behind your head and lift yourself up completely from just above your hips. Sit up straight an then go down again. Do 15 repetitions and 3 sets.
Bhujangasana or the cobra pose
Some yoga asanas are great for toning the upper body. Bhujansana can target fat in the upper body and make it stronger while improving blood circulation. To do this, lie down on your stomach, with your legs close to each other and your arms by your side. Push up your upper body and keep your arms straight. Hold this position for about a minute and then return to the original position.