Strength Training: Why Is It Important?

Remember the last time you carried groceries in from the car or stood up from a low chair? How easy were these activities? Were you sore after moving furniture or lifting bags of fertilizer around the yard? All of these activities require strength and endurance. Without adequate strength, even daily chores that we take for granted can be hard to do.

Many people lose muscle and strength with age. However, most of this loss is due to inactivity. When INACTIVE PEOPLE grow older several things happen.

  • exercise tolerance declines
  • body fat increases
  • muscles decrease in size and become weaker and
  • bone thickness decreases

These changes make simple tasks hard and increase the risk of injury. Inactive people also have an increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, thinning of the bones, and other diseases.

STRENGTH TRAINING, or weight training, can prevent and even reverse these changes. Overloading the muscle develops strength. Proper strength training makes muscles stronger by asking them to do more than usual. This is called overload and means lifting more weight than one usually lifts. The body responds to this challenge by becoming stronger. Strength training must be done slowly and carefully.

It takes hard work to develop one’s strength and muscle potential. A simple BEGINNER PROGRAM is a full-body routine performed 3 times per week. Perform 2 or 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions per muscle group. Begin with a light exercise program. Exercise slowly with good posture, full range of motion, and regular breathing. Never hold your breath while lifting weights. Many household items can be used as weights. Beginners do not need to buy expensive equipment or join a health club.

Performed properly, strength training should maintain or even increase a joint’s range of movement. It strengthens bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and improves fitness and health. It can also help prevent accidents and injuries and speed recovery when injuries do occur. It improves one’s ability to do everyday chores and activities. Strength training can and should be done for a lifetime. Medical studies show benefits of strength training for people in their 80’s and 90’s!

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