#1 Prevent Loss of Muscle Mass
The body’s capacity for physical activity dramatically decreases as we age. After the age of 40, if strength training is not part of our regular activity, we begin to lose muscle mass at an average rate of 5 pounds per decade. The best way to combat this is through strength training. Studies have shown that for adults (including older adults), several weeks of muscle training results in about 3.1 pounds more muscle, and 4 pounds less fat.
#2 Burn More Calories
A common misconception is that in order to burn calories, you have to do a great amount of cardio. It’s true that a cardio workout will burn more calories during the workout than strength training does during the workout. However, once the cardio exercise stops the boost in calorie-burning stops along with it. With strength training, the calorie-burning continues for 3 days after the workout due to the process of microtrauma repair and muscle remodeling. Even while we sleep!
#3 Reduce Risk for Injury
Strong muscles help to cushion impact movements like running or jumping, while weak muscles can lead to injury. In addition, repeating the same activity can cause muscle imbalances which put them at greater risk for injury. For example, a cyclist uses their quadriceps and hip flexors more than the opposing muscle group, the hamstrings, and hip extensors. Muscle imbalances like this lead to injury on the weaker side. Strength training should include all muscle groups to avoid this type of injury.
#4 Disease Prevention
Muscle training has been known to help insulin response in diabetes, improve lipid profiles, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, lower resting blood pressure, improve metabolic syndrome risk factors, increase bone density, and decrease the prevalence of depression.
#5 Improved Body Composition
Strength training leads to more muscle and less fat in the body. Doing only cardio may help with weight loss, but it will not shape or strengthen the body. In fact, muscle growth from strength training may cause your weight to stay the same or even increase, and that’s okay! It’s why I recommend tracking your progress with measuring tape instead of a scale. A 160-pound body with more fat than muscle will look quite different from a 160-pound body with more muscle than fat. More muscle and less fat not only give the body the toned, strong, shape that many people strive for, but it also helps with overall health.
#6 Reduced Pain
Even though you may experience delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) while strength training, your overall, everyday, pain be will be reduced. Muscle training also reduces the pain of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis due to increased support around the bones and joints.
#7 Stay Strong and Active
Having strong muscles allows us to continue the activities we love as we age. Our strong bodies will allow us to keep running, biking, hiking, kayaking, mountain climbing, keeping up with our kids or grandkids, and more.
Being strong and active enhances the overall quality of life while extending our lifespan. If you aren’t doing it already, try adding in a few days per week of strength training!
Here’s a quick arms & shoulders workout to get you started!