Top 10 Reasons Why Older Women Should Do Resistance Training
Most women recognize the unhappy tendency to gain about 10 pounds a decade after age 40. But they don’t realize that they are losing muscle mass at the same time. At this age about a fourth of the weight loss is muscle. Each lost pound of muscle depresses the body’s metabolism by about 40 calories a day. Strength training can replace the lost muscle, get the body’s metabolism back up, and keep weight off permanently.
Maintain Quality Lifestyle: Muscles are responsible for movement, and movement is closely associated with both quality and quantity of life.
Prevent bone loss: Muscle loss is accompanied by bone loss, leading to osteopenia, osteoporosis and a higher probability of bone fractures. Strength training–lifting light weights or using resistance bands–is especially important, since it builds lean muscle mass and can prevent bone deterioration. During exercise muscles are challenged, to pull on their bony attachments stimulating bone formation. If you want to increase bone mass in a particular bone, the exercise must recruit muscles that attach to that bone. It has been observed that a certain strength training intensity stimulates bone growth.
Maintaining Body Weight: Muscle loss is accompanied by metabolic rate reduction, which profoundly affects energy utilization and fat accumulation. Quite simply, less muscle means fewer calories burned and more calories stored as fat every day. If you do not perform resistance exercise, every pound of your skeletal muscle burns about 5 to 6 calories a day to maintain tissue functions. However, if you do perform resistance exercise, every pound of your skeletal muscle burns about 9 calories a day to maintain tissue functions. So even when you are sleeping, strength-trained muscles burn 50 percent more calories than non-strength-trained muscles. Consequently, regular resistance exercise is a highly effective means for maintaining desirable body weight and optimal body composition.
Preventing Disease: Muscles are the body’s largest storehouse for glycogen, and strength-trained muscles enhance glucose metabolism by increasing insulin sensitivity. Research clearly reveals that strength training is beneficial for the prevention and management of Type 2 diabetes and related health issues.
Enhanced Heart Performance: Resistance exercise, like aerobic activity, improves cardiovascular health by reducing resting blood pressure and improving blood cholesterol levels (decreasing “bad” LDL cholesterol and increasing “good” HDL cholesterol).
Reduced Cancer Risk: Strength training accelerates food passage through the gastrointestinal system, thereby lowering the risk of colon cancer.
Better Pain Management: Resistance exercise has been shown to reduce the discomfort associated with low back problems, arthritis and fibromyalgia.
Functional Ability: Strength training has been shown to improve functional abilities for activities for daily living, including faster walking speed, which is closely associated with longevity.
Stress Management: Resistance exercise improves self-efficacy, self-esteem and mood states, and reduces or reverses feelings of depression. A study provides preliminary evidence that an intervention combining increased physical activity with improvement in the nighttime nursing home environment improves sleep and decreases agitation in nursing home residents.
Reduced Premature Death: Stronger older adults have a reduced risk of premature death from all causes of mortality.
Resistance Training can make a real difference not only in how you feel physically, but also mentally and emotionally. An effective exercise prescription may be resistance and weight bearing exercise three days a week (on alternate days). Care should be taken to do the exercise for all the muscle groups by rotation preferably with a trainer.