Most of us exercise to be healthier. We want to feel good, be there for our family and friends, and be able to say “yes” to more things. Strength training is key to leading a long, healthy, independent life, and should be a part of your exercise routine. Strength training improves physical as well as mental health, while helping to protect against illness and injury.
First and foremost, strength training helps us maintain or increase our muscle mass. Beyond beach muscles, skeletal muscle mass is being viewed more and more as a strong indicator (pun intended) of health. Adding muscle mass boosts our resting metabolic rate. This means we require more fuel to keep our body running, so we burn more calories, which helps lead to improved body composition. This is protection against diseases like obesity and diabetes. Not just for jacking steel, increasing muscle mass also strengthens our immune systems. It leads to improved energy levels and reduced stress too. Look good and feel good!
One of the most important things we can do as we age is avoid falling. To be better at remaining upright we need to improve our balance and coordination. Whether lifting weights, or exercising with only the resistance of our own body weight, strength training is teaching us to better control our bodies in space. For this reason free weights (dumbbells, barbells, etc.) are strongly preferred (puns!) to machine exercises.
Strength training is also brain training! Coordination is simply using the right muscles in the right order to achieve a given task. In addition to the physical benefits of learning new skills, it also helps us make cognitive gains. While we’re sharpening our physical abilities, we’re staying sharp mentally too!
It’s not how many times you get knocked down that count, it’s how many times you get back up. If you do happen to fall though, we want you to be able to pick yourself up, and recover as quickly as possible. Strength training improves bone density and connective tissues strength. It makes us more durable.
Our own resident powerlifter, Jerilyn, is a great example of this. I’ve been working with Jerilyn for about a decade. In that time she’s done some pretty cool stuff, like competing in Masters Weightlifting National Championships, and achieving a Class I powerlifting total in her division. Jerilyn holds state records in the back squat, bench press, and deadlift. Jerilyn is strong. She used to have very low bone density though. Jerilyn’s most impressive feat may be that she has completely reversed her bone density situation through strength training. It is now outstanding. All thanks to lifting weights!
We want to help you be your own Ponce De Leon, and discover your personal Fountain of Youth. Click here to begin your expedition!