Strength Training for Better Living
Tighter buns and a flatter stomach aren’t the only reasons to begin a strength-training program! Studies have shown that strength training helps individuals lose weight, improve sports performance, increase bone density, perform activities of daily living with more ease and even reduces some of the health risks associated with coronary artery disease.
After the age of 50 we begin to lose muscle mass at the rate of up to 6% per decade (Hurley & Roth 2000) not only stripping us of the strength and power necessary to perform basic daily tasks like climbing stairs or carrying groceries home from the store but because of it’s role in both helping the cardiovascular and metabolic system to function properly the gradual decline in muscle mass in our body can also affect everything from the quality of sleep we get to the to the amount of blood flow to and from our heart. Strength training replaces the muscle mass lost due to the affects of aging and has been proven to help restore and maintain healthy and normal physiological function through out the body.
If you are looking to begin a strength-training program first check with your doctor and make sure there is no risk associated with you exercising. Choose the method of strength training and number of exercises appropriate for your current fitness level and goals. Working with a personal trainer or exercise instructor in the beginning to better assess your strength and weakness in addition to creating a general strength-training program is a smart idea. If working one on one with someone is not your style there are plenty resources on the internet that will show you how to begin a strength-training program using different forms of resistance. Regardless of what route you decide to take the important thing is to avoid delay in starting a strength training program. While the good news is that it is never to late to begin a strength training program with seniors experiencing improved overall physical and metabolic function through their 70’s 80’s and 90’s scientific evidence suggest the sooner you start the greater the chances you can stave off such chronic diseases such as osteoporosis, diabetes and coronary artery disease. The following is a short list of all the reasons you should begin a strength-training program.
1. Weight Training Will Help You Avoid Obesity. As you add muscle from strength training, your resting metabolism will increase, so you’ll burn more calories all day long. For each pound of muscle you gain, you’ll burn 35 to 50 more calories daily. So, for example, if you gain three pounds of muscle and burn 40 extra calories for each pound, you’ll burn 120 more calories per day, or approximately 3,600 more calories per month. That equates to a loss of 10 to 12 pounds in one year!
2. Weight Training Will Make You Stronger. Numerous studies indicate that a moderate weight-training program increases an individuals strength by 30 to 50 percent. Extra strength will make it easier to accomplish some daily activities, such as climbing stairs or carrying groceries.
3. Your Bones Will Benefit From Weight Training. By the time you leave high school, you have established all the bone mineral density you’ll ever have–unless you strength train. Research has found that weight training can increase spinal bone mineral density by 13 percent in six months. So strength training is a powerful tool against osteoporosis.
4. Weight Training Will Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes. Adult-onset diabetes is a growing problem for women and men. Research indicates that weight training can increase glucose utilization in the body by 23 percent in four months.
5. Weight Training Will Fight Heart Disease. Strength training will improve your cholesterol profile and blood pressure, according to recent research. Of course, your exercise program should also include cardiovascular exercise and flexibility training.
Jannot,MS, Jeffrey M, and Len Karvitz,PHD. “Maximizing Functional Abilities In Older Adults.” IDEA Health & Fitness Source. June (2001): Print. Jannot,MS, Jeffrey M, and Len Karvitz,PHD. “Maximizing Functional Abilities In Older Adults.” IDEA Health & Fitness Source. June (2001): Print.