Shar’s Soapbox # 3 “Viva La Resistance!”

Hi all,

A growing amount of research shows that strength training has an anti-ageing effect, together with alot of other benefits too, for all age groups.  Our members at Viva would already know this, as I’m sure Dion and all our trainers continually drum this into you.  For those of you out there that don’t know and are looking for that special something to slow down the ageing process, listen up! 

No matter what your age, exercise is a vital factor in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  As we grow older, one form of exercise that gives you enormous benefits is resistance or strength training.  Resistance training is any movement that requires the use of our muscles to oppose a resisting force.  Generally it should be undertaken every couple of days and you don’t always have to use the gym, although using Viva really does help with motivation, especially at a Body Pump session or the over 50’s classes.  Strength training promotes healthy, lean muscle in our bodies and the amount of lean muscle we carry is largely affected by age and genetic factors but research shows that strength training can greatly improve it.  Studies show that people who undertake regular resistance training report better quality of life, improved circulation, lower blood pressure and greater muscle strength, as well as improved mood and everyday tasks become much easier.  What about our sleeping patterns? Strength training can increase the release of the growth hormone as we sleep, according to a recent study (“Advances in Preventative Medicine, Volume 2011”).  This hormone helps to strengthen bones and repair muscles and can even promote a more reliable and restful sleep in the process.

What about our weight?  More particulary fat loss?  Resistance training increases fat-free mass and this change in body composition enhances fat loss (Journal of Cardiac Failure Vol 10 No 1). There are many other benefits including managing chronic diseases, as well as preventing the onset of diseases like diabetes.  Resistance training is also conducive to bone health.  Our bones stop ossification (hardening) around the age of 20 to 25 and women, in particular, can experience a rapid loss of bone mineral density after menopause.  However, like the skin, bone constantly replaces itself throughout our life and to stimulate this regeneration, we must place a suitable load on our bones and joints.  Weight-bearing exercises and resistance training, along with regular walking, are considered essential components in slowing the loss of bone density and helping to prevent the onset of diseases like osteoporosis.

I know in just about every magazine or newpaper you read you will see something on exercise and examples of strength training you can do at home, at the park or in the kitchen for that matter.  We have push-ups, squats, lunges, leg raises, sit ups, step ups – the list is endless. You can also use the cans in your cupboard for weights, so there are absolutely no excuses!

Anyway, lift well and live well for life!

Yours in good healh

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