“To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep
our mind strong and clear.” – Buddha
Strength training is so important, especially as we age! As we reach our 30’s, inactive adults start to experience a 3% to 8% loss of muscle mass per decade, and this loss increases significantly when we enter our 60’s. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, bone loss also speeds up for both men and women during midlife. Our metabolism slows down as we age as well, which can make it easier to gain weight, and harder to lose it.
Strength training can help with all of these things, which is why it’s important to start now to prevent problems later on. Here are the top reasons to start strength training:
- Strength training can increase bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis. It may even help build new bone cells.
- Strength training can help you manage or lose weight by increasing your metabolism to help you burn more calories.
- Strength training may increase natural testosterone levels, which helps build lean mass. The more lean mass you have, the greater your body’s metabolic activity.
- Strength training can help you maintain a level of strength so you can continue to do your daily activities along with physical activities that you enjoy with less risk of injury. Building muscle can also contribute to better balance and may reduce your risk of falls which will help you maintain independence as you age.
- Strength training can reduce the signs and symptoms of many chronic conditions, such as arthritis, back pain, obesity, heart disease, depression and diabetes. Some research suggests that regular strength training and aerobic exercise may help improve thinking and learning skills as we age.
Don’t let strength training intimidate you. There are several different ways to strength train and gain muscle mass. You can use a barbell or dumbbells and do workouts with repetitions and sets. You can try body-weight exercises, resistance bands, or classes like yoga or HIIT. There is also CrossFit, which is a strength and conditioning program where a trainer instructs you how to do the exercises in every class and each workout is scaled to your fitness level.
If you are brand new to strength training, you may want to get a trainer to help you create a customized program just for you and show you how to do each exercise safely and correctly. Or again, try something like CrossFit, (yeah, I’m a little biased toward CrossFit 😉 ) where the programming is done for you each day where a trainer is available to help. Whatever you decide to do, just get started!
As with starting any new exercise program, make sure to check with your doctor first. If you have any questions on how to get started, feel free to email me. I would love to help!
TODAY’S Rx: Start strength training! Lifting weights will increase muscle mass, increase your metabolic rate, increase bone density, and enhance your quality of life. All very important things now and as we age!