Why strength training?


Research  has shown that strengthening exercises are both safe and effective for women and men of all ages, including those who are not in perfect health.  In fact, people with health concerns—including heart disease or  arthritis—often benefit the most from an exercise program that includes lifting weights a few times each week.
Strength training, particularly in conjunction with regular aerobic exercise, can also have a profound impact on a person’s mental and        emotional health.

Benefits of Strength Training

There are numerous benefits to strength training regularly, particularly  as you grow older. It can be very powerful in reducing the signs and  symptoms of numerous diseases and chronic conditions, among them:

  • arthritis                                                      
  • diabetes
  • osteoporosis
  • obesity
  • back pain
  • depression

Arthritis Relief

University studies have  recently completed a strength-training program  with older men and women with moderate to severe knee osteoarthritis. The results of this sixteen-week program showed that strength training decreased pain by 43%, increased muscle strength and general physical performance, improved the clinical signs and symptoms of the disease, and decreased disability. The effectiveness of strength training to ease the  pain of osteoarthritis was just as potent, if not more potent, as medications. Similar effects of strength training have been seen in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Restoration of Balance and Reduction of Falls    imagesCAW12IG4

As people age, poor balance and flexibility contribute to falls and broken bones. These fractures can result in significant disability and, in  some cases, fatal complications. Strengthening exercises, when done properly and through the full range of motion, increase a person’s  flexibility and balance, which decrease the likelihood and severity of  falls. One study in New Zealand in women 80 years of age and older showed a  40% reduction in falls with simple strength and balance training.

Strengthening of Bone

Post-menopausal women can lose 1-2% of their bone mass annually. Results  from University studies, which were published in  the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1994, showed that  strength training increases bone density and reduces the risk for fractures  among women aged 50-70.


Proper Weight Maintenance

Strength training is crucial to weight control, because individuals who  have more muscle mass have a higher metabolic rate. Muscle is active tissue  that consumes calories while stored fat uses very little energy. Strength  training can provide up to a 15% increase in metabolic rate, which is enormously helpful for weight loss and long-term weight control.      imagesCAZTF35U

Improved Glucose Control

Million  of Britons have type II diabetes—a staggering  three-hundred percent increase over the past forty years—and the numbers  are steadily climbing. In addition to being at greater risk for heart and  renal disease, diabetes is also the leading cause of blindness in older  adults. Fortunately, studies now show that lifestyle changes such as   strength training have a profound impact on helping older adults manage  their diabetes. In a recent study of  men and women, 16 weeks of strength training produced dramatic  improvements in glucose control that are comparable to taking diabetes  medication. Additionally, the study volunteers were stronger, gained  muscle, lost body fat, had less depression, and felt much more  self-confident.

Healthy State of Mind

older-women-exercisingStrength training provides similar improvements in depression as        anti-depressant medications. Currently, it is not known if this is because  people feel better when they are stronger or if strength training produces  a helpful biochemical change in the brain. It is most likely a combination  of the two. When older adults participate in strength training programs,    their self-confidence and self-esteem improve, which has a strong impact on  their overall quality of life.

Sleep Improvement

People who exercise regularly enjoy improved sleep quality. They fall  asleep more quickly, sleep more deeply, awaken less often, and sleep longer. As with depression, the sleep benefits obtained as a result of  strength training are comparable to treatment with medication but without the side effects or the expense.

Healthy Heart Tissue

Strength training is important for cardiac health because heart disease  risk is lower when the body is leaner. One study  found that cardiac patients gained not only strength and flexibility but also aerobic capacity when they did strength training three times a week as part of their rehabilitation program. This and other  studies have prompted the American Heart Association to recommend strength  training as a way to reduce risk of heart disease and as a therapy for patients in cardiac rehabilitation programs.

Research and Background About Strength Training      imagesCAOFB74R

Scientific research has shown that exercise can slow the physiological  aging clock. While aerobic exercise, such as walking, jogging, or swimming,  has many excellent health benefits—it maintains the heart and lungs and  increases cardiovascular fitness and endurance—it does not make your  muscles strong. Strength training does. Studies  have shown that lifting weights two or three  times a week increases strength by building muscle mass and bone density.
One 12-month study  conducted on postmenopausal women on a University  study demonstrated 1% gains in hip and spine bone density, 75%  increases in strength and 13% increases in dynamic balance with just two  days per week of progressive strength training.    Strength training programs can also  have a profound effect on reducing risk for falls, which translates to  fewer fractures.

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About maturemovers

Exercise Specialist ~ Sports Therapist

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