By Kath Webb
Strength training doesn’t always get the attention it deserves. But for your overall health it’s just as important as cardio, healthy eating and staying slim. Whatever your age, there are huge benefits:
Strength training increases body metabolism, burning more calories throughout the day. Long term weight loss is significantly easier with more muscle.
Age brings wisdom but it also brings loss of muscle, bone and strength. After the age of 35 we lose 5% of our muscle mass each year (Sarcopenia). Studies show strength training helps combat this muscle loss. Numerous studies show that strength training also increases bone density and even replaces what you’ve lost due to age.
Stronger muscles mean you tire less easily. Life will be easier and you will be less prone to strains and injuries.
The more muscle you have, the lower your risk of developing cancer. Swedish research in 2009 found that men who weight trained regularly cut their cancer risk by up to 40 per cent.
Strength training boosts endorphins, making you feel good. It also aids sleep and has been used to combat depression. All great for quality of life.
So how much strength training should you do? Two to three times a week for 20 to 30 minutes is all you need to reap the benefits. Some people like to train certain muscle groups each session (i.e. arms on Monday, legs on Wednesday). The thing to remember is to rest a full day between exercising each muscle group.
Who doesn’t want all these health benefits? So choose a gym pass and get training now.
My 70 year old mum has recently started light weight training. The media have actually done a good job for once, and made people more aware of the importance of weights as well as cardio. She is less likely to get brittle bones and it surprise surprise it makes her feel stronger too.
My girlfriend rarely weight trains but focuses on cardio instead. I shall show her this to try and make her see why it's so important. I probably need to focus more on my cardio though, lol!!
the note on bone density is also very important. We don't want to be collapsing in a heap in old age!
that statistic about ageing is quite worrying. Pass the weights!
Strength comes before cardio for me these days - I try to make sure I get at least three strength sessions in a week but sometimes I can't help but do a couple more - it's really enjoyable once you get into it.