The Strength Connection
Strength Training Has Many Benefits.
Any kind of exercise is good when you first begin a healthy fitness program, but strength training produces more health benefits than any other form of exercise. Weight training, often called strength training, has been shown to protect and even improve your bones, joints, muscles, connective tissue, organs, immune system and yes, the waistline too!
A balanced, overall weight training routine builds and strengthens the entire body. It can prevent and even reverse muscle loss. And remember, you are never too old or frail to start building muscle. In one study, people in their 90's almost tripled their leg strength after two months of training with weights!
Bodyweight and body composition control can become a problem as we age. The metabolic and calorie-burning rate slows down due to loss of lean muscle mass. We know now that more muscle means a higher metabolic rate and more efficient bodyweight control.
Strength Training Builds Bone Mass
Women typically lose 25% of their bone mass by age 70, putting us at 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.
Bone Building Basics:
Exercise. Start a moderate strength training program on a regular basis.
Get your Calcium and Vitamin D. You need both to build and maintain bones.
Eat a Balanced, Varied Diet.
Don't Get Too Thin. Being significantly underweight can accelerate loss of bone density, even in younger women.
Limit Your Alcohol Intake.
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 (often used for asthma and other medical conditions).
At Menopause, bone density may decline very rapidly.
It's important to increase your activity level!
Research shows that going from a completely sedentary lifestyle to even moderate physical activity can cut the risk of coronary disease or stroke almost in half. Yet only 20% of adult Americans participate in regular physical activity of any intensity. Most people who do start a regular program end up quitting within a few months. I believe it's because of an add-water-and-stir ethic-the quick fix. Real fitness doesn't come in a box. It grows rather slowly, like a flower. And like a flower, when the results of strength training blossom, they are a sight to behold.
Get strong. Get fit. It's time to be committed to valuing who you are and paying attention to the importance of your short life by honoring your body.