Let’s face it, we all get a little bit older each year. Research has shown one of the best things you can do for an aging body is to exercise. Regular bouts of strength training, has the potential to prevent muscle loss, increase strength and build additional muscle. Still need more assurance? Here are ten reasons that may help you to “commit to get fit.”
Strength Training: As they Say “Just Do it”
-Building muscle mass can increase metabolism by 15 percent. So, if you’re looking to speed up a slow metabolism and continue to stay functional as you age, you need to be strength training at least a few times each week.
-Consistent strength training will prevent sarcopenia – which is the loss of muscle mass as you age – you can lose up to 10 percent or more of your muscle per decade after age 50.
-Did you know resistance training can play a major role in disease prevention? Well it can, as seen with type 2 diabetes.
-It can help improve the way the body moves too, resulting in better balance and reduced falls as you age. Some research has shown that you can decrease your risk of falling by as much as 40 percent. In fact, one review of 23,407 adults over the age of 60 showed a 34 percent reduction in falls in those who participated in an exercise program that included balance and resistance exercises exercises as well as functional training.
-A great by-product of strength training, when dieting, is it preserves muscle tissue as you lose weight.
Here are Four More Reasons
-Skeletal muscle can increase insulin sensitivity. It also reduces blood sugar levels by removing glucose from the blood and sending it to muscle cells.
-Lifting weights on a regular basis will offset bone loss as you age. Women can expect to lose one percent of their bone mass after age 35 (and this increases following menopause). Read Strong Women, Strong Bones for more information on the bone loss.
-A new study published in the British Journal of Medicine looked at the health benefits of strength training. They concluded strength training was associated with a lower risk of dying. In terms of duration, the sweet spot was one to three hours a week of aerobic exercise and one to two weekly strength training sessions. Subjects who met these guidelines had even a lower mortality risk. This research paper is the latest evidence on the importance of strength training.
-A second meta-analysis, published in the The British Journal of Sports Medicine, was also able to quantify the effect of strength training on longevity. This study showed 30-60 minutes of strength training a week offered the largest reduction.
Not Sold? Ok! Three More…
-Strength training builds grip strength. Grip strength is a powerful indicator of upper body strength. Hand strength typically peaks around 30-40 years of age according to one study. There are also gender differences between men and women when measuring grip strength. Hand strength begins to decline in men and women around 50-55 years of age. Low grip strength is associated with a greater likelihood of premature mortality, according to researchers like Bohannon.
-A meta-analysis of 42 research papers, and three million participants, found a linear relationship between grip strength and all-cause mortality. In a second study study, handgrip strength was shown to have predictive validity for decline. Specifically, a decline associated with cognition, mobility, and functional ability in older individuals.
-Finally, fat stored around the abdomen, especially visceral fat, is considered an increased risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Regular strength training has been reported to reduce both abdominal and total body fat.
How Often and How Long?
The sweet spot is 2-4 sessions a week to obtain all the health benefits of strength training. One to two strength session a week is enough to maintain strength levels. An individual can experience gains in about 4 to 6 weeks if new to strength training.
Donnelly, J.E., Jakicic, J.M., Pronk, N., Smith, B.K., Kirk, E.P., Jacobsen, D.J., Washburn, R. (2003). “Is Resistance Training Effective for Weight Management?” Evidence-Based Preventive Medicine. 1(1): 21-29.
Sherrington, C., et al., (2019). Exercise for preventing falls in older people living in the community. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 31(1): CD012424. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD012424.pub2.
Stay Strong Together
Jefit, named best strength training app by Sports Illustrated, Esquire, GQ, Men’s Health, Greatest, Forbes Health, and many others. We offer a community responsible for 92,000,000 workouts to date! The app, which recently passed 10 million downloads, comes equipped with a customizable workout planner and training log. The app also has ability to track data, offer audio coaching cues, and can share workouts with friends. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals.
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