The simple fact is, it’s essential to have strong muscles in order to carry out activities of daily living. This includes household chores, walking, working in the garden, and carrying in the groceries. Strength training should be a regular part of an active way of life.
After the age of 30, many adults lose about 1/2 lb. of muscle each year! This is mainly because of a decrease in activity. Also, with age, muscle mass naturally decreases. Body fat percentage will go up if you don’t do anything to replace the lean muscle mass which is lost. You can strength train at any age to protect and improve your muscle mass.
As a runner, I realize that adding resistance training to my running schedule will help me be a stronger runner as well as decrease my risk of injury. To gain the benefits of strength training, you don’t need to be a “bodybuilder” or spend hours a day lifting weights. It only takes 20-30 minutes, two to three times a week to see significant changes in your strength. People of all ages can gain positive results. It’s never too late to start!
Here are some of the important benefits strength training provides:
- Increased bone mineral density, which can lower the risk of osteoporosis
- Improved body composition (more muscle, less fat) which reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease
*resistance exercise has been shown to improve insulin response and glucose utilization and has also shown to lower resting blood pressure, improve blood lipid profiles, enhance vascular condition, and decrease the risk of developing metabolic syndrome* (PubMed)
- Gain stronger muscles, notably important for the lower back
- Increased strength in bones, tendons, and ligaments
- Reduced pain of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis
- Decreased depression in older adults
- Improved ability in older adults to do all activities of daily living
- Provides better balance which decreases risk of falls
- Overall enhanced quality of life
- Some research indicates that strength training may help boost thinking and learning skills in older adults
It’s recommended to include strength training exercises at least two times per week making sure to work all major muscle groups. (we don’t want any strength imbalances!)The Importance of Strength Training. It's never too late to start! Click To Tweet
Whether at home or in the gym, there are many options to work your muscles. This includes: using your own body weight (push-ups, squats), resistance bands/tubes, free weights (dumbbells, kettlebells), or weight machines. These are all effective tools to use for strength training and have their own pros and cons. Working with a combination is a great way to add variety and reduce boredom!
Do you strength train?
What is your favorite method?