I am 42 years old and when I reach 90 years old, I have an ambitious goal to still be doing the active things I love, such as horse riding, jogging, swimming and cycling. To achieve such a challenging goal will require me having a good strength and endurance base.
Resistance training is a form of exercise that improves muscular strength and endurance by moving the body and limbs against a resistance. Many types of exercise such as push ups, crunches, bench press, swimming, cycling and jogging are all considered forms of resistance training.
There are many reasons why resistance training is beneficial, particularly when you get older.
Here are my top five!
Reason 1 - Healthy body weight
‘In New Zealand, 32% of the adult population is obese and a further 34% are considered to be overweight. This means a whopping 66% of the NZ adult population are either obese or overweight.’
Resistance training burns more calories, torches through body fat, and increases muscle mass. Because muscle is a metabolically active tissue, the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolic rate, even at rest. Due to an average male having more muscle mass than an average female, a male can usually eat more than a female, without gaining the same amount of body fat.
Reason 2 - Prevents falls
‘Resistance training slows the effects of aging by reducing the loss of muscle and bone density’.
Once a person turns 30 years old, they are likely to lose 4-5% of muscle each decade. The good news is this can be reversed by doing resistance training. From 50 years old, a person is at greater risk of losing bone density which causes osteoporosis. Resistance training turns back the clock and bullet proofs your muscles, ligaments, tendons, joints, and bones. It can prevent injuries, falls and even fractures, which are often caused by osteoporosis. There is truly no better method than resistance training to prevent debilitating and life changing falls.
Reason 3 - Better quality of life
‘The biggest predictor of quality of life as you get older is strength and mobility’
Your health is your wealth. We invest in retirement plans to look after our wealth when we get older, yet most people don’t put the same time and effort into their health. What’s the point of having plenty of money if you are not actively capable of enjoying it. For a greater quality of life and to avoid a wheelchair in your golden years, resistance training is key.
Reason 4 - Improved wellbeing and longevity
‘Resistance training reduces anxiety and depression’.
Exercise relieves stress, making you a more confident and happier person. Research also suggests that when you are strong and fit, you are more productive and are likely to live longer.
Reason 5 - Look healthier
‘The icing on the cake’
As you get older, the desire to look hot and attractive is unlikely to be as important as it was when you were younger. It is more important that you look healthy because that is what your children and even your grandchildren will remember about you. A good resistance training programme is guaranteed to make you look and feel healthy and strong.
If you want to move with purpose until the day you die, then resistance training is an absolute must. Start now by looking for reasons to move, and if you manage to complete a chore at the same time, for example chopping wood, mowing the lawns, stacking shelves, vacuuming, or exercising the dog, that is an added bonus.
Train smartly by choosing an exercise regime you will stick with, and enjoy. Focus on functional, all body exercise patterns. Train at least 2-3 times a week for maintenance, or 4-6 times a week for improvements.
The time to start training is now, because when you are older you will never regret being strong and mobile. However, you will regret being weak, frail and leaving it too late to make a change!
Karen Hulston runs both live and online Boot camp resistance training programmes, go to the following link for more information about her online programmes; https://www.bootcampwithkaz.co.nz/
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