Also known as weight or resistance training, is physical activity designed to improve muscular fitness by exercising a specific muscle or muscle group against external resistance, including free-weights, weight machines, or your own body weight.
Ageing is a continuous process from birth to death which encompasses physical, Social, psychological and spiritual changes. Ageing is associated with a number of physiologic and functional declines that can contribute to increased disability, frailty, and falls. Contributing factors are the loss of muscle mass and strength as age increases, a phenomenon called sarcopenia.
Sarcopenia is a condition characterized by loss of skeletal muscle mass and function. Although it is primarily a disease of the elderly, its development may be associated with conditions that are not exclusively seen in older persons.
Sarcopenia can result or be exacerbated by certain chronic conditions, and can also increase the burden of chronic disease. What’s important for everyone to know is that strength training is not just about body builders lifting weights in a gym. Regular strength or resistance training also helps prevent the natural loss of lean muscle mass that comes with ageing, Strength training is an important part of your overall fitness and benefits people of all ages, particularly those with health issues such as obesity, arthritis, or a heart condition and type 2 diabetes, while also improving sleep and reducing depression.
Strength training by older people may build not only strength and muscle mass but also motivation and confidence, potentially spurring them to continue exercising but older people who lift weights can slow or reverse that descent, studies show. In multiple experiments, older people who start to lift weights typically gain muscle mass and strength, as well as better mobility, mental sharpness and metabolic health.
1. Strength training makes you stronger and fitter. This benefit is the obvious one, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. “Muscle strength is crucial in making it easier to do the things you need to do on a day-to-day basis, “especially as we get older and naturally start to lose muscle. Strength training is also called resistance training because it involves strengthening and toning your muscles by contracting them against a resisting force. There are two types of resistance training
Isometric resistance involves contracting your muscles against a nonmoving object, such as against the floor in a push-up.
Isotonic strength training involves contracting your muscles through a range of motion as in weight lifting.
2. Strength training protects bone health and muscle mass. At around age 30 we start losing as much as 3 to 5 percent of lean muscle mass per year thanks to aging. Muscle-strengthening activities help preserve or increase muscle mass, strength, and power, which are essential for bone, joint, and muscle health as we age.
3. Strength training helps keep the weight off for good. Aerobic such as walking, running, and cycling is well-known as a way to help increase the number of calories you burn in a day and thereby shed extra pounds. But strength training helps, too (even if you’re not burning a huge number of calories during the workout).
4. Strength training helps you develop better body mechanics.
Strength training also benefits your balance, coordination, and posture. One study showed that in older people who are at higher risk of falling (and causing a lot of damage) because of worse physical functioning, strength training reduced risk of falling by 40 percent compared with individuals who did not do strength-training exercise.
5. Strength training can help with chronic disease management. Studies have documented the many wellness benefits of strength training, including helping people with some chronic diseases manage their conditions. If you have arthritis, strength training can be as effective as medication in decreasing arthritis pain.
6. Strength training boosts energy levels and improves your mood. Strength training will elevate your level of endorphins (natural opiates produced by the brain), which lift energy levels and improve mood. “All exercise boosts mood because it increases endorphins, as if that isn't enough to convince you, there’s evidence strength training may help you sleep better, too.
7. Strength training translates to more calories burned. Strength training helps boost your metabolism (the rate your resting body burns calories throughout the day). But weight or resistance training can help boost your calorie burn during and after your workout, too.
8. Strength training has cardiovascular health benefits. Along with aerobic exercise, muscle-strengthening physical activity helps improve blood pressure
Author: Prince Dhabuwala
Strength coach, Master trainer at Khelo India and Teacher.