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THE ANTI-AGING BENEFITS OF STRENGTH TRAINING

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AGING WITH GRACE

As we grow older and wiser, our bodies undergo lots of changes. Now, some of these changes are welcomed while others not so much. These are the changes making life harder. For example:

When we are young, wild and carefree, we aren’t dealing with things like stiff joints, crunchy knees or low back pain. Walking, running and moving all together is super easy and enjoyable. Our bodies don’t hurt when we get out of bed or bend over to put on our shoes. We are energetic! Fast on our feet! Strong and flexible! Able to do most anything we want!

Ahhhh – life is good!

But then, the sudden onset of life and age catches up. We start dealing with chronic issues like arthritis, osteoporosis, osteopenia. We start getting to the point of needing hip and knee replacements. Things that used to be simple like getting out of bed, going up the stairs, walking to get the mail, become painful and hard. We can’t move as well or get around as easily. We never thought of ourselves or bodies as “old” …until now!

Oh, sh!t!

As coaches, we work every day with folks dealing with injuries and chronic pain and the most common question we get asked is: “Is strength training safe / something I should be doing with my [insert injury/chronic pain issue]?”

The short answer to this question? YES!

YOU SHOULD ABSOLUTELY BE STRENGTH TRAINING! Here’s why:

  1. Exercise is MEDICINE and often the miracle drug we need to continue living our lives to the fullest, especially as we age!

  2. One of the most effective and best ways to age gracefully and combat the unwelcomed parts about aging is staying physically active and building strength.

Strength training (aka resistance training) involves the performance of physical exercises and movements which are designed to improve muscle strength and endurance. It is often associated with any type of resistance : dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells, medicine balls, bands, sleds, etc. This type of training is NOT meant to be confused with HIIT, bootcamps, spinning, boxing, etc. which is great for cardio!

At Results Fitness, strength training is a core focus and part of every workout you do, knowing how important this is to your long term health and longevity.

[*Note: Of course there are exceptions to this rule depending on your injury and chronic pain issue so let me be clear! Always seek medical attention and your doctor’s OK. Then, find a personal trainer/coach to help you work through and around your injury or pain. Doing so ensures you can exercise safely while still getting results!]

While strength training is beneficial for everyone of all ages and fitness levels, those of us dealing with chronic pain and stubborn injuries especially need strength training as part of our recovery plan.

Though the thought of using weights may seem intimidating or feel dangerous if you’re dealing with injury or chronic pain, the benefits far outweigh the risks. Don’t believe me or kinda unsure?!

That’s why today’s blog is dedicated to exploring:

1. What happens to our bodies as we age.

2. Why strength training is the ANTI-AGING best kept secret!

It’s time to learn how strength training will slow down and prevent these changes so you live a high quality life, can remain independent and can continue doing what you love with the people you love most!

PS…..As follow up to this blog, I will be launching a 3-part blog series exploring the common issues we experience with age: chronic pain in our knees, shoulders and back. This is the stuff preventing you from living a certain way and being able to do the things you enjoy with family and friends.

In each blog you are going to learn:

  • Medical and lifestyle causes

  • Common myths getting in your way of feeling better

  • Top 5 best exercise to resolve and alleviate that pain

But first, the anti-aging truths and benefits about strength training!


THE SAD TRUTHS ABOUT AGING

According to research, here’s what happens to our bodies as we age:

  • Beginning at age 30, men and women lose muscle mass at the rate of 10% per decade until the age of 50 where that loss is accelerated to 15% !

  • By our 8th decade, the loss of muscle mass (known as sarcopenia) can be SEVERE and greatly effect quality of life leading to falls and bone breaks that can cascade into numerous medical problems. 

As an occupational therapist working in nursing homes for almost 20 years, I have seen firsthand the devastating effects of this.  Not sure about you, but I plan to keep exercising simply to maintain as much independence as possible so I am not relying on others to help me get on and off the toilet or shower.

Now that I have scared you into submission (hee, hee), let’s talk specifically about what happens to our bodies as we age. 

  • Muscle weakness: Not only do we lose more muscle mass and at a faster rate, it’s also harder to maintain the muscle we do have. This means it’s extra important to build and maintain muscle mass so we have the strength to do daily activities with ease: get out of bed, take a shower, get dressed, carry laundry, go for walks/hikes/bike rides, etc.

  • Skeletal weakness: Arthritis, osteoporosis and osteopenia are common examples, and this is especially true for women. These imbalances put you at greater risk for broken bones.

  • Low energy levels: You probably heard the old adage that you “slow down” with age and here’s why: we experience decreases in testosterone and DHEA, two important hormones affecting our strength and energy levels.

  • Changes in physical appearance: Increased abdominal fat, poor posture and droopy skin to name a few. The increase in fat puts unnecessary stress on our major organs and poor posture can lead to muscle imbalances, a hunch back and chronic pain.

  • Decreased cognitive functioning: Memory loss, dementia and decreased attention span/focus can be common with age. Much like your physical muscle, you need to be doing things to actively engage the brain and cognitive functions.

Aging is a natural process and instead of something we fear, should be viewed as a privilege. It doesn’t have to be “bad”. It is very true we can all age gracefully – it just takes a different kind of mindset. A mindset where we value ourselves and our health enough to proactively invest in it today, instead of later down the road when the damage is already done.

Aging also does not have to be a problem or something that’s hard. However, if/when it starts affecting our overall quality of life, that’s where it becomes an issue. Before you start freaking out about the next few decades of life, I have super amazing news to share with you!

STRENGTH TRAINING HAS BEEN PROVEN TO HELP IN ALL OF THESE AREAS!

If you’re fearful of aging and / or want to be proactively doing everything you can now to slow down and prevent bodily changes, it starts with strength training.


TOP 5 ANTI-AGING BENEFITS OF STRENGTH TRAINING

Regular exercise, specifically strength training, is your one-way ticket to the fountain of youth. Remember, what you do today impacts how you live tomorrow so here are the top 5 reasons why you want to strength training consistently, regardless of how old you are today.

1.  Increased Overall Strength: Building total body strength isn’t just for aesthetics. Increased muscle strength leads to greater mobility; decreasing the risk for falling as we age. Falls are a leading cause of injury and death in the aging population so being strong enough to land the fall and get back up is important.

2. Stronger Bones: It’s not about having ginormous, bulging muscles like Popeye. It is about decreasing our risk for bone disorders, diseases, fractures, and injuries. Strong bones means you are more resilient! You can hold your grandkids no problem! You can haul those grocery bags with ease!

3.  Increased Metabolism/Energy: Engaging in regular strength training exercise programs increases testosterone production which in turn influences your metabolism and turbo boosts your energy! This ensures you can keep up with your kids and grandkids and continue enjoying life versus feeling run down and tired.

4.  Decreased Belly Fat, Improved Posture, and Increased Skin Elasticity: Losing body fat means dropping fat around your internal organs to to take pressure off your heart, allowing blood to flow more freely and efficiently! By having improved muscle tone (strength), this helps to stabilize the muscles in our lower body so we can stand up straight, align our joints and keep our skin tight!

5.   Improved Brain Function: Exercise isn’t just for our bodies but our brains, too! Exercising keeps you cognitively sharp by improving memory, attention span and focus. IF you’re looking to “stay with it”, actively engaging your brain muscles is equally as important as engaging any other muscle in your body. Otherwise, our cognitive function digresses and tapers with age.


HOW TO GET STARTED

Remember, when it comes to strength training, the anti-aging benefits are truly endless! If you want to live a better quality life, it’s time you get started right now. What you do (or don’t do) today impacts how you will live tomorrow and for the rest of your life. Whether you’re still in your youthful prime or, trying to combat the aging process, strength training if your ticket to the fountain of youth.

To get started, first consult with your physician if you have an injury to understand the dynamic of what’s going on. Next, find reliable coaches like the RF team who will work with you to understands what you are dealing with we can create a safe, smart and effective exercise program scaled to what you personally need to move better, feel better and live better!

Our Small Group Personal Training sessions are designed to deliver exactly that! Knowing it can feel intimidating to get started, especially if you are new to strength training, we’ve limited session capacity to just 7 people so you always get the 1:1 coaching and personalization you need to succeed!

These sessions are optimal if you have existing injuries and / or chronic pain problems because your coaches can adjust every movement and exercise for you so you’re always doing what’s best for your body and goals. No more feeling like you can’t exercise worried you are going to get hurt. Working with a coach gives you the confidence you need to exercise safely while getting results.

Schedule a FREE Strategy Session with the RF team now if you’re curious and ready to learn more!

 

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Keep living healthy, happy + strong!

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