Weight training, still, is the most complete form of exercise, bar none. Simply put, weight resistance encourages muscle growth and development, and helps stave off age related health issues. Weight bearing exercises have been shown to also improve bone density in people of all ages. It likewise has specific benefits for some female fitness concerns. Weight training for women, with the proper diet helps prevent osteoporosis. If weight lifting is done through a circuit training routine, there are also cardiovascular benefits that are similar or better than pure aerobic types of exercises. Weight training routines also help you hold on to muscle mass, which is so important for fat burning. As we age, the natural tendency is to lose muscle mass. This is called muscle atrophy. Resistance exercise combined with appropriately timed protein ingestion has proven to be highly effective at promoting muscle hypertrophy, or growth.
Let’s take deeper look into the benefits of weight training and see why you should adopt this into your lifestyle. Fitday.com echoes these as they identify 6 health benefits of weight training below.
6 Health Benefits of Weight Training
1. Even though there are different opinions about how many calories a pound of muscle burns in a day, muscle still burns more calories than a pound of fat. Muscle is metabolically active tissue. If fat loss is part of your fitness goal, I encourage you to add weight training to your fitness program.
2. Weight training increases bone density. Studies have shown that the risk of osteoporosis is lower for people who are active, and especially those who do load-bearing, or weight-bearing activities at least three times a week.
3. The proper weight training program can increase athletic performance. The benefits of strength training to athletic performance are enormous and many. Not only is it an integral conditioning component for power athletes such as football and rugby players, performance in the pure endurance events can be improved with a well-structured strength routine, as well.
4. Traditional strength training is always good for you but another option is to focus on functional strength training. Functional training involves dynamic, whole body movements that make you stronger for real life activities like gardening, house work, shoveling snow, etc.
5. When we begin to see our bodies change in performance and appearance, our self esteem improves.
6. Exercise is a great way to blow off steam and reduce stress.
While these 6 reasons to weight train impact people of all ages, there are also specific reasons for people in the 50 plus age range to consider resistance training. Older adults can avoid a slew of health issues related to aging, or at least delay them or mitigate their effects by adopting weight training as a form of exercise. Dukehealth.org had a brief write-up on the subject.
“Strength Training for Older Adults
The Centers for Disease Control extols the benefits of resistance exercise, particularly as you grow older. Science tells us that comorbidities like arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, back pain, and depression are significantly reduced through the effects of regular strength training.
Studies have shown that older adults age 50+ who engage in strength training achieve a 43 percent reduction in pain, along with increases in strength and performance.
Balance is improved through resistance exercise, and a routine of strength training two to three times per week has been shown to lower the risk of falls by 40 percent.
For post-menopausal women, bone mass decreases 1 to 2 percent per year, and weight training will improve bone density enough to counter that loss. Glucose control, mood, and sleep are all improved through strength training.
Even your heart benefits from resistance exercise, since it leads to leaner body composition — and therefore a decrease in heart disease, as well as increased aerobic capacity.
As we age, our bodies are less able to create new muscle tissue. Sarcopenia is age-related loss of muscle, and with it comes a reduction in the ability to do functional everyday activities.
When you lose weight, you inevitably lose muscle mass as well as fat. By doing strength training exercises, you can reduce the amount of lean muscle tissue that you lose during weight loss.
For those maintaining a stable weight, strength training reduces the age-associated loss of muscle tissue. In addition, strength exercise programs can be a significant help in maintaining our metabolic rate (which ordinarily declines with age and with weight loss).”
Weight Training for Beginners
If you are not yet on the fitness bandwagon, aren’t you convinced yet with all the data pointing at weight training as THE way to maintain health and vitality? If you have not yet adopted weight training, it’s never too late. There is a routine to suit every age, lifestyle and health condition. The first thing to do if you plan to take up resistance training is to see your family physician, get checked for a green light to weight train, and off you go. If you are a neophyte at this, get yourself a licensed trainer who can run you thru the basic exercises with proper form. Having a gym buddy would also help. It could be your spouse, a sibling, or a friend that could join you in your sessions at the gym. Ofcourse, you may also purchase some equipment and workout at home. Just make sure you are well-informed about the safety considerations, especially if you workout alone. Here is a basic beginners weight training workout that should help get you started, one for men at mensfitness.com and for women at fitnessmagazine.com.
A healthier you is just around the corner, so weight train now and reap the many health benefits.