An Antidote To Aging: Strength Training

Everyone describes Joe as 'the nicest man.' He exercises at my club nearly every day, happily chit-chatting with fellow members as he pumps iron almost effortlessly. A talented and busy photographer, Joe is the picture of health. Joe is also 79 years old.


The results have been astounding. Recent research has uncovered a simple truth that shatters our beliefs about growing old: Much of aging can be prevented, or even reversed, through strength training. In fact, when put on a regular strength program, even 85-year-old men and women can expect results comparable to those of their 25-year-old grandchildren.

It all became public news with a landmark study in 1994, published in the New England Journal of Medicine. One hundred frail nursing home residents, ages 72-98 were put on a 10-week strength program. As a result, muscular strength improved by 113 percent, walking speed increased 12 percent, and stair climbing power increased 28 percent. Several residents were even able to leave their canes behind. Around the same time, another study found that one year of strength training improved spinal bone density by six percent. This is a significant finding considering that bone density decreased by four percent in the control group.

Strength training and aging soon became a hot topic among exercise scientists, leading to a host of studies that, to date, boast the following incredible conclusions:

Older adults can improve their health, reduce risk of disease and literally transform their lives through a program of strength training. The implications of these findings are strikingly significant; given that by the year 2010 people aged 55-74 will outnumber 25-34-year-olds by 18 million. Furthermore, according to a report by the National Institute on Aging, delaying nursing home stays by only one month would result in a savings of four billion dollars annually.

You don't have to become a "gym rat" to benefit. Twice weekly sessions that work all the major muscle groups in the body are sufficient to notably improve health. It's important to get your doctor's approval before you get started; there may be medical considerations that affect choice of exercises and intensity of training.

Here's an excellent exercise to get you started at home: the "Squat." This exercise will work the muscles in your legs and buttocks. Begin by standing with a chair or bench behind you. Squat down to sit in the chair, keeping back straight, looking straight ahead. As soon as you sit, immediately straighten up to standing position. Perform a set of about 15 repetitions. When you have perfected this exercise, you can try it without a chair, being certain to keep back straight, weight in the heels, knees over ankles. You may want to join a gym or see a personal trainer to learn appropriate exercises and their proper execution.

It's never too late to start, never! With a strength-training program you can turn back the hands of time, at least a little bit. And like Joe, you may be able to enjoy a productive life through advancing years, in excellent health.

Related Articles

Comments

Post new comment

Similar

Exercise Tips Whatever Need to Know for Beginners

Exercise Tips Whatever Need to Know for Beginners Exercising helps people reduce their weight, maintain weight loss, and fight obesity. Research has shown that women who regularly exercise but do not change their diet can lose significantly more

Aerobic or Endurance , an Exercise Method

Aerobic or Endurance , an Exercise Method The sweat experts divide exercise into three general categories: Aerobic (also called endurance). Strength (also called resistance). Flexibility(Also called stretching A balanced program should

Strength or Resistance, a Method of Exercise

Strength or Resistance, a Method of Exercise The sweat experts divide exercise into three general categories: Aerobic (also called endurance). Strength (also called resistance). Flexibility(Also called stretching A balanced program should

Flexibility or Stretching ,a Method of Exercise

Flexibility or Stretching ,a Method of Exercise The sweat experts divide exercise into three general categories: Aerobic (also called endurance). Strength (also called resistance). Flexibility(Also called stretching) A balanced program

Vegan Diet Secrets: Becoming a Vegetarian

Vegan Diet Secrets: Becoming a Vegetarian A lot of vegans do not even know why they wanted to become vegans in the first place. Why are you a vegan? If you cannot answer this question in depth, then there's really no reason to follow a vegan

Importance of Mealtime for your Children

Importance of Mealtime for your Children Eating healthfully is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your baby. Smart choices can help you promote proper growth and development. Good nutrition and a balanced diet will help

Halloween Awareness for Kids

Halloween Awareness for Kids Halloween is a tradition celebrated on the night of October 31, most notably by children dressing in costumes and going door-to-door collecting sweets, fruit, and other treats. It is celebrated in