If you think that lifting weights is just for those who are young and fit, think again. The benefits of strength training translate to anyone of all ages, and it’s something that shouldn’t be ignored. A key thing to remember is that if you are older, you need to have professional advice on what is right for you.
Why do we need strength training?
The natural aging process leads to distinct muscle mass and strength loss, with a 15% loss per decade over the age of 50. That is a hugely scary statistic and is the key reason why we need to focus on strength training.
Studies show that strength training can improve muscle mass and strength. This can help to combat the musculoskeletal issues associated with aging. There is a very strong relationship between poor musculoskeletal conditions/lack of physical activity and increased frailty, loss of independence, withdrawal from social activities, decreased mental health, well-being and quality of life.
The benefits of strength & resistance training include:
- Increased lean muscle mass
- Increased metabolic rate
- Preserve/increase bone density & joint health
- Increased balance & decreased risk of falls or injury
- Prevention of muscle loss associated with aging
- Improved sleep
- Improved mental health & reduced depression
- Reduced risk and symptoms of some chronic diseases
- Improved cognitive function
- Potential to reduce risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease
What actually is strength training?
Strength training is an activity in which muscles move dynamically against weight (or resistance). Small but consistent increases in the amount of weight lifted are made over time. It’s not about lifting 100kgs at a time, it’s about starting slow and building up your condition over time under the guidance of expert to make sure you are in no danger.
So you want to make a change – where do you begin?
Of course the first thing we would say is, make sure you get some expert advice. At Medicine in Motion we are Accredited Exercise Physiologists – we have the university training and expertise to make sure you start your health journey properly.
As a base level we would suggest you need to do at least 3 x 30min sessions of moderate exercise per week. To improve your physical health and build muscle mass; the intensity, frequency or duration (or all) need to increase.
There are many reasons why you may not want to change your current lifestyle – perhaps you have pain? Don’t have the time or the money?
We suggest you look at it this way – if you make the changes now, you will reap the benefits later in life. Your body is the only one you have, so look after it now!