Are you lifiting weights?

over 50 year old women lifting weights - women of the New Generation

 There’s an old saying, if you don’t use it, you will lose it”

This is reflected strongly in the aging process where we experience a significant loss of muscle tissue, bone mineral density, strength, function, vitality, cardio-vascular fitness and a general decline in health.

However, this degeneration is directly related to the decrease in activity.  People, who slow down, as they get older, tend to lead more sedentary lifestyles.  Combine this with a 5-10 pounds loss of muscle per decade and you would be looking at becoming old and weak.

However, this does not have to happen……….Strength training can reverse all this. 

Preserves muscle mass during weight loss 

In a study done by USDA Human Nutrition Resource Centre by Miriam E Nelson, PhD, it was found that strength training, as compared to dieting alone, improves fat loss, increases bone density (without the benefits of hormone replacement therapy), improves balance and increases vitality.  This study took ten overweight women averaging 40 years of age, and gave them individual customized food plans.  Fifty percent of these participants performed strength-training exercises twice a week, the others merely followed the prescribed diet.

The results, which were published in the Journal of American Medical Association, showed that diet-only volunteers lost an average of 5.9kg during the study, but 1.3kg of this weight loss was lean muscle mass.  The women who strength trained lost approximately 6kg, only a little over what the diet only volunteers lost.  However, the strength training gained 0.6kg of lean tissue and experienced a total fat loss of 6.6kg! This means that the group that performed strength training twice a week lost 44% more body fat than the diet-only group and averaged 173% gain in strength.

In another interesting study done by Henrik Kitgaard and colleagues at the August Krogh Institute in Copenhagen where they studied swimmers and runners at competition level, this time they were all male with the average athlete being 69 years old and had been training for at least 12 years. To no-ones surprise, the men were exceptionally fit.  But it was shocking to discover that these lean and fit athletes had no more muscle mass or strength than their peers who didn’t exercise at all.  All were steadily losing muscle and if lucky enough to live past 80 or 90, would likely have as much trouble getting out of a chair as if they’d spent all those years watching TV.

Klitgaard and his team also looked at one additional set of athletes – weight lifters.  What they discovered sent physiologists around the world scurrying to the gym: 67 year-old men who had been training with heavy weights for a decade or more, were not only stronger than swimmers and runners of the same age, they were stronger than the average 28 year-old man!

Strength training studies performed have been shown the following benefits: -

 

·      Increases the speed of your metabolism

·      Increases vitality and function

·      Increases strength

·      Replaces lost muscle tissue

·      Increases bone mineral density

·      Decreases and manage blood pressure

·      Relieves arthritis

·      Decreases depression

·      Improves balance

·      Increase lean body mass

·      Improve athletic performance

 

The latest research is showing strongly that strength training is a vital component of any exercise program.  Compliment your already cardio vascular routine with strength training and aim to consistently get stronger.  In 3 months you can give yourself up to 1 kilogram of muscle and increase your metabolism by 7 percent. Getting stronger is mentally very empowering – especially for women.

Dee Boys

Ref:  Dr Miriam E Nelson – It’s Never too Late to do weights

Ref:Network Australia – how strength training benefits women