Weight Training: More Than Just Big Muscles
Chester J. Zelasko, Ph.D. | May 15, 2001

Remember the way The Twilight Zone used to begin?

"Picture a man forced to hang from the side of a building while awaiting rescue. Does he have the strength to hang in there or will he enter the Twilight Zone—permanently!"

In today's world, there are few demands that require us to use our muscles in any significant way. As a result, we lose muscle mass at the rate of 1% per year after about the age of 30. We get progressively weaker until by the age of 65, the average woman can't lift 10 pounds.

The solution is to lift weights. No matter what age—even well into their 90s—men and women can increase their strength and muscle size (1). But that's not all weight training is good for—not by a long shot.

In a recent review article (2), Hurley and Roth summarized the research on the benefits of strength training. You may be surprised to know that research has shown that strength training may:

  • Help prevent the loss of bone mineral content as people age.
  • Help normalize blood pressure (3). Reduce insulin resistance, a precursor to Type II Diabetes.
  • Decrease body fat under the skin and within the abdominal cavity.
  • Increase resting metabolic rate.
  • Improve symptoms associated with arthritis in the knee.
You may also be surprised to know that it doesn't take hours in a gym to achieve beneficial results. Some of the studies used just 5-8 exercises performed 2-3 days per week. There are many types of equipment you can use to strength train, from barbells and resistance machines to the exercise bands and tubes that we offer with The Better Life Body. The key is that in order for strength training to work, you've got to do it on a regular basis. Check with your physician to make sure it's okay to exercise and begin. Your body will love you for it.

References:

  1. Nelson ME et al. Effects of high-intensity strength training on multiple risk factors for osteoporotic fractures. A randomized controlled trial. JAMA 28;272(24):1909-14, 1994.
  2. Hurley BF, Roth SM. Strength training in the elderly: effects on risk factors for age-related diseases. Sports Med 30(4):249-68, 2000.
  3. Martel GF et al. Strength training normalizes resting blood pressure in 65- to 73-year-old men and women with high normal blood pressure. J Am Geriatr Soc 47(10):1215-21,1999.
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