Exercise and Healthy Aging
In our previous article, we discussed how regular exercise was the key to healthy aging. We cited numerous studies that proved that exercise can reduce your risk of chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, as well as many types of cancer, depression and anxiety, and dementia. In addition, staying active throughout one’s life also prevents the loss of muscle mass and strength, keeps stamina and metabolism from plateauing, and it even helps to maintain a healthy blood pressure, normal cholesterol levels and a healthy weight.
The Benefits of Strength Training
To fully reap the benefits of exercising, it is important to vary the types of physical activity you engage in. This is where strength training comes in. Without question, it is the most powerful solution we have at our disposal when it comes to our health. Whether you have been doing it for years or are just getting started, men and women of all ages can benefit from strength training. The best part is that it can be done with weights, resistance bands or simply your own body weight! Listed below are the science backed benefits of strength training:
- Improved Cellular Health: Telomere length determines the lifespan of a cell or organism. Telomeres split, shorten and weaken as we age, but strength exercises can help prevent that from happening. It reverses the very genetic profile of our DNA and improves overall cellular health.
- Maintain Lean Muscle Mass: Lean muscle mass naturally diminishes with age. Your body fat percentage will increase over time if you don’t do anything to replace the lean muscle you lose. Strength training can help you preserve and enhance your muscle mass at any age.
- Develop Strong Bones: Strength training can increase bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Studies show that just 30 minutes twice a week of high intensity resistance and impact training was shown to improve bone density, structure, and strength.
- Manage Your Weight: Engaging in strength exercises can help you manage or lose weight due to something called “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.” Summarized, strength training demands more energy from your body, which means you burn more calories. This increases your metabolism, leading you to burn more calories even after the workout while your body is recovering to a resting state.
- Improve Your Balance: Strength training works all the muscles and joints that keep you stable. By continuing to work them throughout your life, you help protect your joints and improve your balance. This will reduce your risk of falls and injuries in the future.
- Manage chronic conditions: Strength exercises help reduce the symptoms of many chronic conditions, such as arthritis, back pain, obesity, heart disease, depression and diabetes. Engaging in regular strength training can also help prevent any chronic conditions in the future.
- Enhance Your Quality of Life: All of the above mentioned benefits contribute to a higher quality of life. It will also help you maintain independence as you age.