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Workout with resistance bands to stretch and strengthen

Jennifer Hoban demonstrates using resistance bands. Resistance bands are easy to use and store and have many health benefits.

Resistance bands are a go-to strength training tool for anyone at any fitness level. Bands are affordable, light and portable, easy to use, and safer than heavier dumbbells or machines. Resistance bands can be used practically anywhere and have many health benefits.

Resistance bands can help build stronger muscles and increase flexibility and mobility, making it easier to do daily activities such as carrying grocery bags and lifting objects. A review and meta-analysis by The National Library of Medicine concluded that using elastic bands achieved similar strength gains as free weights and weight machines in people of all ages and experience levels. Bands provide constant and increasing resistance throughout a movement, helping strengthen the entire muscle through its range of motion unlike using a free weight.

Age-related muscle loss is a reality, beginning around age 30 when we start to lose roughly three to five percent of muscle mass per decade, per Harvard Health Publishing. Studies in older adults revealed that multiple types of resistance training significantly improved muscle mass; training with resistance bands was the most efficient approach.

Resistance bands help with injury and surgery recovery. Not only are bands lightweight, it is easier to increase and decrease resistance by simply shortening a band or grabbing a thicker band to increase tension, and lengthening or using a thinner band to decrease tension. For these reasons, bands are often used in rehabilitation settings to aid in recovery following an injury or surgery and are often included in many in-home rehabilitation programs.

Heart health can be improved with the muscle-strengthening activity of using bands. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found improved blood pressure and a reduction in the risk of heart disease with resistance training. The combination of resistance training and aerobic exercise was more effective than aerobic exercise alone in heart disease rehabilitation, per a systematic review of 38 randomized controlled trials.

Resistance training may have life-extending benefits. After analyzing data collected from more than 80,000 people, researchers discovered that participating in any form and amount of strength training lowered the risk of death from any cause by 23 percent over an average of 9.2-year follow-up period. The results were published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Whether in the kitchen, the gym or a hotel room, resistance bands make it easy to stretch and strengthen.

For additional articles on the information above, visit The National Library of Medicine website at


By Lisa Nicklanovich; photo courtesy of Jennifer Hoban




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