There has been a fair bit of publicity regarding the importance of resistance training for the over 40’s recently.
As you know, I have always advocated strength training for everyone regardless of age but aside from the fat loss benefits, here are a few more important reasons why it should be a must.
Muscle groups work in pairs so when say your biceps contract (muscle at the front of the upper arm), the triceps at the rear stretch to allow this and visa versa.
A good resistance programme will work all major muscle groups and identify areas that are tight and those that need more flexibility.
One of the most common examples of poor posture is the rounded shoulder, forward head position. Strengthening the weak lengthened upper back muscles and stretching the shortened tight chest muscles will create a positive effect.
Maintain Your Flexibility
Forget the image of the muscle bound body builder. Full-range resistance training workouts can actually improve your flexibility. The key here is Full Range, If you can’t complete the full motion ”going all the way up and all the way down” with a given weight, you may need to use a lighter dumbbell.
Improved mobility and balance
Strong muscles that can move through a full range of movement make you more agile and able to maintain your independence as you age.
Reduced risk of osteoporosis
As we age we become more prone to osteopenia and osteoporosis.
Weight lifting doesn’t only train your muscles; it trains your bones. When you perform a curl, for example, your muscles tug on your arm’s bones. The cells within those bones react by creating new bone cells, so your bones become stronger and more dense.
If you keep picking up little niggling injuries and have aches and pains in your joints you need to resistance train to strengthen your tendons and ligaments.
Stronger muscles, ligaments and tendons hold your joints in position more effectively.
Increased self confidence.
Resistance training releases feel good endorphins and coupled with the realisation that after a few weeks of training you are able to complete daily tasks that were once a struggle, you get a pretty good feel good factor.
Research shows that resistance training helps to sharpen the mind.
Better, stronger, faster
Stronger muscles mean better performance at work, rest or play! Your core will be better able to support your own body weight and maintain ideal posture and form during other exercises (like running), plus your arms and legs will be more powerful.
Fights depression and anxiety.
Research shows that resistance training can release those happiness endorphins and help keep anxiety at bay .
Protects your heart.
Cardio isn’t the only way to work your heart. You’ll be out of breath and/or have an elevated heart rate with a proper resistance training programme.
As those of you who come along to any of my classes know, you don’t need racks of dumbells or need to join a gym to resistance train, there are hundreds of exercises that you can do in your own living room using nothing more than your own body weight to get started.