From Crossfit Anaerobic Inc.com
Ok, so there’s no "real" Fountain of Youth, but lifting weights comes pretty darn close! There’s good news and bad news about aging, let’s get the bad news out of the way first!
THE BAD NEWS
We all, regardless of gender, begin losing lean body mass (muscle) at between age 25 and 30, at a rate of approximately (for sedentary people) 1% each year until age 60. Then it increases to about 1.5% each year until age 70, then increases to about 2% each year after that! Strength decreases even faster than muscle mass; on the order of DOUBLE!
Bone density peaks at approximately age 30; then it begins to decline. A number of factors accelerate the loss of bone: diabetes, menopause (Women may lose up to 20% of their bone mass upon completion of menopause!), smoking, excessive alcohol use, lack of physical activity, vitamin D deficiency, and chemotherapy.
Less bone and muscle means a greater risk of injury, lack of strength, decreased range of motion, poor balance, a lack of confidence, and a less independent, active lifestyle as we age.
THE GOOD NEWS
We can stop our bone density and muscle loss! We can even reverse it and gain it back! The most effective way to do this is to resistance train. Yep, it’s hard work, technique intensive (insert picky trainer’s voice here!), and not always fun. However, it is the only proven, natural way to be healthy, happy, and active as we age. Sounds like a Fountain of Youth to me!
What this means is lift weights, please! It doesn’t mean high reps-low weight, Pilates, Yoga, Zumba class, or spin class! These activities have a specific application and can be fun. Unfortunately, increasing bone density and muscle mass are not by-products of these activities.
(If you don’t believe me, or think I say these things ‘cause I really enjoy lifting weights and have a skewed point of view… Google "strength training benefits"! It’s not just me, I promise!)
Resistance training not only positively impacts bone and muscle, it does other great stuff too!
* Improves glucose control (helps with diabetes)
* Reduces hypertension (high blood pressure)
* Reduces the symptoms of arthritis
* Reduces depression
* Reduces cardiovascular disease (CVD) by up to 30%
* Boosts self-esteem and self-confidence
* Impacts hormone levels: growth hormone (helps break down fat and bolsters the immune system), insulin (lowers blood glucose levels), and others
* Decreases insulin resistance, a precursor to Type 2 diabetes
The National Strength and Conditioning Association reported in June, 2010 that only 27% of the US population resistance trains! The numbers drop significantly at age 50. Of those 75 years and older less than 10% resistance train.
The positive impact of resistance training has been known for years, but it can be difficult at times to stick to a routine. Perhaps the next time you feel less than motivated to go to the gym you’ll remember some of the information presented here!
Let’s all be as active, strong, and healthy as we can for as long as we can! Modern medicine can do a great job of helping us live a long time; it’s up to us to behave in ways that contribute to a high quality of life!!!!!!!!!!