The Importance of Strength Training
FITNESS/ Oct 2020

Do you incorporate a strength program into your exercise regime?…A lot of people panic when the word ‘strength’ is mentioned as it conjures up images of huge body builders lifting massive weights! However, resistance training can be done with small weights, a resistance band or even a few tins of food or small water bottles. Furthermore, you can even lift your own body’s weight such as a squat or knee bend or using a resistance band instead.

It is really worth trying to build resistance training into your activity program at least 2-3 times per week as the benefits are actually amazing!

Please see some below…

• Research shows resistance training exercise not only improves muscle strength, metabolism, and balance, it reduces signs of aging at the cellular level as well, helping you to look and feel years younger.

• The National Strength and Conditioning Association recommends older adults perform strength training exercises two to three days a week. It advises that we should focus on working all of the major muscle groups, including arms, legs, shoulders, and trunk with a goal of lifting a weight just heavy enough to achieve 10 to 15 repetitions before the muscles become fatigued.

• Strength training is the only type of exercise that can substantially slow and even reverse the declines in muscle mass, bone density, and strength that were once considered inevitable consequences of aging.

• In general, as people grow older, muscle fibres shrink in number and in size (atrophy) and become less sensitive to messages from the central nervous system. This contributes to a decrease in strength, balance, and coordination.

Fortunately, beginning a strength training exercise routine after the age of 50 can halt these declines and boost health in a number of ways:
Research shows inactivity is responsible for the majority of age-associated muscle loss, and resistance exercise can reverse much of this by increasing the size of shrunken muscle fibres.

Strengthens Bones

Weight training increases bone mass, which lowers the risk of developing osteoporosis and fractures. Strength training adds more weight to the skeleton by building muscle, which stimulate the bones to strengthen and grow.

Ease Joint Pain

Proper strength training doesn’t apply stress directly to joints and is ideal for people with arthritis. In fact, rheumatologists with the Arthritis Foundation recommends weight training for patients with arthritis. Although exercise cannot reverse arthritic changes, lifting weights helps alleviate symptoms by strengthening the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that surround joints. A regular program will also help to prevent injury as you will strengthen the muscles that support your joints helping them to function more efficiently. It will also reduce your chance of falling because your mobility will improve helping you to move with ease.

Finally, there have also been studies done which demonstrate that resistance training can improve cognitive performance, brain plasticity and resilience-which is something that will greatly benefit us in these times!