Why is it important for us to engage in strength training?
I think we can all agree that exercise is good for us and makes us feel good ...afterwards! Simply moving our bodies and adding weight progressively can enhance our physical (and mental) robustness A LOT.
In this blog, I want to talk to you about the benefits of resistance exercise as we age and also for those who are managing complex health conditions. Let's get into it.
STRENGTH TRAINING & METABOLIC SYNDROME
"Metabolic syndrome is the medical term for a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. It affects an estimated one in four adults in the UK. It puts us at greater risk of getting coronary heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular conditions that affect the blood vessels" (NHS 2016). It is characterised by increased waist circumference (bigger belly compared to hips), high triglyceride levels (fat in the blood), high blood pressure, insulin resistance (Diabetes) and inflammation/swelling in the body. It is associated with being overweight with poor physical activity levels.
Metabolic syndrome is not the one. Luckily though, we can prevent and even reverse Metabolic syndrome with a number of lifestyle changes. In a recent study by Liu et al. (2019), it was shown that "less than an hour a week of resistance exercise was associated with decreased risks for cardiovascular disease-related events, independent of aerobic exercise."
WOW.. it's possible to reduce our risk of developing Metabolic syndrome with less than one hour of effortful lifting/pushing/pulling/carrying per week! If that's the minimal effective dose required, pass me the dumbbell!
STRENGTH TRAINING & SARCOPENIA
Sarcopenia is defined by the loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength, simply as a result of ageing. From about forty years old, our muscle mass automatically declines (sigh), and we become at risk of developing Sarcopenia, which can be associated with Osteoporosis (bone density loss). Now, it does not take a rocket scientist to comprehend the secondary effects of muscle mass and bone loss. As a result, we can develop muscle weakness, leading to insidious joint pain and/or overuse injuries. This is something I see so commonly in clinic these days - injuries coming from nowhere, without specific trauma or incident, "I'm just getting old", they say. Long term and chronic injuries can reduce our mobility and over time put us at risk of falls, frailty, decreased immunity, poor overall health and increased mortality (Strength For Life 2019). Eeek, that does not sound good.
Ok, ok bad news over. In all honesty, regardless of what age you are or what condition you may be in, strength training is good for you. Walking the dog at the park every day is lovely, but simply not enough to fend off those daunting health conditions. If you find yourself the right programme, with the right guidance, you may well enjoy it!!
If you are keen to improve your health span and enhance your overall health through exercise, but you are not sure how, get in touch with us at ATO life. We are advocates of physical exercise and aim to make it accessible and enjoyable for all.
Yours in strength and balance,
Founder & Physiotherapist of ATO life.