When we think about strength training, most of us conjure up visions of buff bodies and six pack abs, but according to Miriam Nelson, director of the John Hancock Research Center of Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Obesity Prevention at Tuft’s University, it’s much more than that. According to Nelson, “muscle is the absolute centerpiece for being healthy, vital and independent as we grow older”.
As we age, starting in your late 30’s and early 40’s, most people lose about ¼# of lean muscle mass every year, according to Nelson. Resistance training is the only sure way to maintain your lean muscle, so it’s not as much about the buff body (although that’s certainly a nice benefit) than it is about protecting and preserving your precious health as you age! Aging is inevitable, but being sedentary, overweight and ill as you age, is not.
Muscle keeps us strong and able to perform our activities of daily living and it’s where we burn the majority of our calories. As we get older and lose lean muscle mass, we risk the ability to live independently and we risk losing the battle of the bulge. As you age and lose lean muscle tissue, you would have to continuously decrease your calorie intake to maintain the same weight, which of course, most people do not do, resulting in the dreaded age related weight gain-ugh!
As a certified personal trainer and wellness coach, I encourage all of my clients to work on their resistance exercises faithfully, but despite my encouragement, many people tell me that they just can’t find the time. But here’s the thing: if you cant find the time for exercise and self-care now, get ready to find time for managing your chronic disease in the future, because it eats up a lot of your time, and money!
According to Wayne Westcott, PhD, an expert in resistance exercise research at Quincy College, MA as reported in the July/August 2015 ACSM Health and Fitness Journal, here are the health benefits for those that are faithful to resistance training:
1) Maintain or increase muscle mass
2) Maintain or increase bone density
3) Maintain or increase resting metabolism
4) Decrease in body fat weight
5) Increase in insulin sensitivity and glycemic control
6) Reduction in resting blood pressure
7) Improved lipid profiles
8) Increase in functional activity ability
9) Decrease in falls related to frailty
10) Improved cognitive function
11) Increase in both mitochondrial content and oxidative capacity (counteracts the aging process, which decreases both of these things).
It’s an impressive list. Can you find time, even 20 -30 minutes 2 times a week to take advantage of these amazing health benefits? If you have 20-30 minutes 2-3 times a week to cruise the Internet or your Facebook page, you can!!
To schedule an initial consultation to find out how to get started: http://prairiehealthcompanion.com/pages/contact
It’s never too late to get fit and healthy. I have clients that are near 80 years old and getting stronger and leaner every day! And my final words of wisdom- something is better than nothing. Don’t fall into the trap that if you don’t have 20-30 minutes, that it’s better to do nothing. If you have 5 minutes a day to do resistance training, that's 35 minute a week which is a lot better than zero. Start small and add time as you are able. It’s an investment in your future; instead of going to the doctor all the time, you’ll be doing the things you’ve been wanting to do all of your life.