Strength and Fitness
I get plenty of aerobic conditioning; I perform drills on a regular basis, and finally, I have incorporated stretching into my fitness routine. However, the crown jewel of my personal fitness program is strength training.
The science of lifting weights has allowed me to build a strong body, but the art of lifting has given me the power to overcome personal failure; strength to accept loss; confidence that I can do anything I set my mind to, and the discipline to persevere when things get really tough. I’ll talk more about this, in detail, in other posts here on the site.
Why is Strength Training Important?
A balanced, overall weight training routine builds and strengthens the entire body with a rapid accumulation of these additional benefits:
1) Build Muscle Mass – In addition to giving you a better appearance, lean muscle mass allows your body to respond to and benefit from aerobic conditioning the way it should by increasing your metabolic rate ( the rate at which your body burns calories)
2) Strengthens Joints/ Connective tissue – In addition to strengthening the joints weight training also increases range of motion making the joints and tissue less susceptible to inflammation and/ or injury.
3) Improves Bone Mass – It reduces the risk of osteoporosis by building bone density.
Did you know women typically lose 25% of their bone mass by age 70, putting us a hight risk for fractures. Strength training has been shown to actually thicken the bones in the fracture-vulnerable spine and hips. It also increases overall physical strength and balance, greatly reducing the chance of devastating falls.
Most of us know indirectly or first hand, body weight and body composition control can become a problem as we age. Our metabolic or calorie-burning rate slows down due to loss of lean muscle mass. We know now that more muscle means a higher metabolic rate; therefore, leading to more efficient control over body weight.
Strength and Fitness
• Exercise. Start a moderate strength-training program on a regular basis.
• Get your Calcium and Vitamin D. You need both to build bones.
• Eat a Balanced, Varied Diet.
• Don’t Get Too Thin. Being underweight and the often related condition of amenorrhea (lack of periods not due to menopause).
• Don’t Smoke.
• Drink Alcohol in Moderation.
• Know Your Relative Risk. If you have a relative with osteoporosis or its symptoms (hunched back, loss of height, easily broken bones), ask your doctor to evaluate your risk and give you information on other treatment options, if necessary.
• Be aware of medical conditions and medications that can affect your bone density such as thyroid disease or the use of corticosteroids used for asthma.
• At Menopause, bone density may decline very rapidly.
Lifting weights is not simply good exercise. It is totally selective and adjustable. The exercises are direct and the physical results are predictable. Strength training will build, shape and strengthen your body like no other form of physical conditioning.
Your training goal is to stress the muscle fibers by “overloading” them – that is, making them do a little more than they are use to. This increased workload causes slight damage to muscle tissue. Don’t be afraid! This micro trauma causes the body to respond by mobilizing its muscle “repairmen.”
Imagine a muscle cell as a structure like a home. Then, imagine exercise as a slight earthquake. After the tremor causes structural damage to the home, repairmen have to come in and rebuild it. This rebuilding process of your muscles requires energy – if your diet is nutritionally sound, the energy from your stored body fat is used to rebuild those muscles so they can meet the challenge of the next training session.
Once you’ve completed a few training sessions, you will begin to feel the difference in your body. I know people who felt the difference after just one session. In the beginning, we call it “muscle awareness.”
Covert Bailey summed it up in “Smart Exercise.” He said, “You don’t have to be a bodybuilder to want more muscle. Muscle does so much for you; it pays to have a lot of it.”
Ready to begin? Strength is Ageless will give you the best basic, no-nonsense information you need to begin strength training. The personal stories will motivate you to start and inspire you to keep going.