Did you know that every decade after 40 you lose 8% of your muscle mass?
Did you know that if you are not actively training your body against gravity, then your bones are also becoming less dense and more brittle? Therefore, putting you at risk for bone fractures and breaks!
If you are overweight then the damage could be even worse. Obesity increases the risk of osteoarthritis, which is the leading cause for knee surgeries. This is not just in the elder population. According to Dr. Patricia D. Franklin, most patients under 65 who undergo knee surgery have a BMI that makes puts them into the obese category.
However, osteopenia and osteoporosis and not inevitable! You can prevent it with exercise! The surprising thing is that not all forms of exercise are equal. Read on to learn what works and what does not.
Research done in 2013 has shown that strength training will increase bone formation hormones and preserve muscle mass! According to a recent article in the New York Times, weight lifting is the best way to do this. The research done by Dr. Vonda Wright claims that while cycling, swimming, and walking are all great for preserving muscle mass, and gaining cardiovascular benefits, they are not as efficient as weight lifting! Dr. Wright does recommend walking stairs, jump roping, standing up on the bike while cycling, and dancing.
So if bone density is not reason enough to start strength training then check out the other reasons listed by the Mayo Clinic:
- Control your weight. As you gain muscle, your body begins to burn calories more efficiently. The more toned your muscles, the easier it is to control your weight.
- Boost your stamina. As you get stronger, you won’t fatigue as easily. Building muscle also contributes to better balance, which can help you maintain independence as you age.
- Manage chronic conditions. Strength training can reduce the signs and symptoms of many chronic conditions, including back pain, arthritis, obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
- Sharpen your focus. Some research suggests that regular strength training helps improve attention for older adults.
Now that you know that weight lifting will help you keep weight off, keep your bones healthy, help you maintain balance, and sharpen your brain. Strength training can be a scary form of exercise. If you are unsure what exercises are right for you, then I highly recommend asking for help. Strength training can be such a beneficial piece of your physical health and an amazing door to teaching you about your potential. We are capable of so much more than we know! Stronger than ever imagined! But you have to start somewhere. So start today.