The Anti-Aging Benefits of Muscle Strength Training

If you thought muscle-strength training was the stuff of Arnie-like muscle men and the gym junkies, think again. No matter who you are, you can benefit from muscle-strength training.

And when it comes to aging, muscle-strength training actually provides us with great anti-aging benefits.

Forget reaching for your credit card and paying big money for expensive cosmetic treatments and anti-aging creams and potions. There are things you can do right now to build your muscle strength and slow aging!

So to explain why muscle strength training is so good in fighting aging…

…We need to know what happens as we age
As we age our bodies begin to lose flexibility, along with muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness.

And as that happens, our balance decreases, along with our stamina and coordination. Our bones also become less dense, making them brittle and more prone to breaking.

We also become more prone to conditions like heart disease, arthritis, high blood pressure. And if that wasn’t bad enough, we also become more prone to obesity!

Nutrition and exercise play a huge role in determining how well we will age, and the good thing about nutrition and exercise is that we are in total control of those.

The loss of muscle as we age is called sarcopenia and alarmingly, it affects approximately 45% of the US population. When people lose significant muscle, they are more prone to falling and experience difficulty doing those day-to-day activities. Unfortunately these people are more likely to be placed into a nursing home.

What we can do now to build muscle strength
The thing to note here is that muscle training will not completely prevent the onset of sarcopenia. What it will do though is greatly slow down the rate of muscle loss you may experience.

Now I’m guessing you’re probably worried that muscle strength training is going to require countless hours in the gym – not to mention pain! The good news is that it won’t require hours in the gym, it won’t require you to lift heavy weights and anybody can start building muscle through strength training – even if they have never done any physical training before.

All it takes is a few minutes a day, three times each week and you will enjoy the anti-aging benefits of muscle training.

Studies have found that just a few minutes of strength building exercise per day, three days each week will result in significant increases in strength after just one month. Older individuals who do this sort of exercise as well will also increase their walking speed and improve their balance significantly.

Pretty amazing just how much of a positive effect strength training can have for older people!

Here are a few really useful muscle strength exercises you can start doing today, in the comfort of your own home:

Bodyweight Squats, Push-ups, Lunges, Dumbbell Rows, Barbell Curls, Lying Dumbbell Extentions

Start working on your muscle strength today and you won’t be able to thank yourself enough tomorrow!

Beginner Weight Training 101

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Now that you know all about cardio exercise and how great it is at helping you to burn fat and lose excess weight, it’s time to talk to you about weight training and its benefits.

As a personal trainer, I help people to get the balance right when it comes to combining cardio exercise with anaerobic exercise such as weight training.  As you know, there are many activities that come under the banner of anaerobic exercise, but for the purposes of today’s blog article, I’m focusing on weight training.

Put simply, weight training is a type of strength training.  It involves exercises that help us to increase our muscles and ultimately, our physical strength by using weights.  Although cardio exercise will burn more calories than weight training, by getting the muscles working as well as the heart and lungs, you will reach your weight loss goals faster – and improve your health in the process.

Here are a few things that always get people excited about weight training:

  • For every extra pound of muscle you gain, your body will burn an additional 50 calories every single day of the week:   The more muscle you gain through weight training, the more calories you will burn.
  • Regular weight training can increase your Basal Metabolic Rate by up to 15%:  If you were to burn 2500 calories per day, weight training on a regular basis can help you burn an extra 375 calories per day.  That’s more than a chocolate bar – every day!
  • Weight training has many health benefits:  Research has proven that weight training helps improve your resting metabolism, blood pressure, gastrointestinal transit time, reduces body fat and positively affects insulin resistance.  It also reduces the likelihood of you suffering from heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

In other words, the muscle will help you keep the weight off and keep you healthier.

To enjoy the benefits of weight training, I recommend just three 30 – 50 minute weight sessions per week.  This is in line with what ACE has found. 

If you are totally new to weight training, here are a few pointers:

  • Start slowly and gradually increase the level of difficulty
  • If you don’t have a weight machine, improvise with baked bean tins, telephone directories and even some moms use their children
  • Work all muscle groups, doing 8-12 repetitions (reps)
  • Determine a suitable weight to lift by ensuring the last rep feels like hard work or that you can only do 1 -2 more reps more
  • Don’t overdo things – leave a day or two between your weight training sessions and rest easy knowing that your muscles will grow even while you are resting

For more advice on how to introduce weight training into your week, feel free to drop me a line! Let us know what you think!