Strength training doesn’t mean you’re destined to become a Hulk-sized body builder. And it doesn’t mean you have to spend hours hoisting hefty weights. Strength training can start at any age. Lifting weights just two or three times a week for 20 or 30 minutes is all it takes to reap the rewards.
While strength training will give you toned muscles, help you maintain or lose weight, and fights against age-related muscle loss, it can also mean so much more to your entire body — with lifelong benefits.
The Strong Benefits
Strength training not only increases muscle strength, but it also increases bone density and improves balance, coordination and mobility. It can also make a positive impact on arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, back pain and depression.
Pain relief. According to a Tufts University study, strength training can be as effective as medication in relieving osteoarthritis pain. The study of older men and women with moderate to severe knee osteoarthritis found strength training decreased pain by 43 percent. It also increased muscle strength and general physical performance, decreased disability and improved the disease’s symptoms.
More stability, fewer fractures. Another benefit of strength training is that it increases flexibility and balance, which are especially important as you age. Poor balance often contributes to falls and broken bones in older people that can lead to disabilities and life-threatening complications. A study in women 80 years and older showed strength and balance training reduced falls by 40 percent.
Denser, stronger bones. Strength training has been shown to increase bone density and reduce the risk of fracture in women age 50 to 70. In addition, a study of postmenopausal women showed gains in hip and spine bone density through two days a week of progressive strength training.
Better blood sugar control. A recent study showed just four months of strength training resulted in significant improvements in blood sugar control. The study participants also gained muscle, lost body fat, decreased depression and felt more confident.
Stronger heart. When the body is leaner, your risk for heart disease is lower. Strength training three times a week has been shown to build aerobic capacity in patients in cardiac rehabilitation. That’s why the American Heart Association recommends strength training to lower heart disease risk and as therapy for patients in cardiac rehabilitation.
How to Get Started
- Learn the proper technique for lifting weights from an experienced friend, fitness specialist or even through online or printed resources.
- Aim for a set of 12 to 15 repetitions with a weight that makes it difficult to finish the last repetition.
- Gradually increase the weight once you can easily do 12 repetitions.
- Rest a full day between exercising a specific muscle group.
Fuel Your Workouts
ProVantage® from Reliv provides ideal nutritional support for any strength training program with a balance of nutrients formulated to improve performance, endurance, recovery and repair. Packed with 13 grams of muscle-building soy protein, and a host of advanced ingredients, like Tonalin®, MCTs, Creatine, CoQ10 and supercharged amino acids, ProVantage marks a major advancement in the science of sports nutrition.
Sign up to receive Healthy Living Tips every two weeks via email.