Seven Reasons Why Strength Training Is Like the Fountain of Youth

By Sue Simonds

Guest Writer for Wake Up World

The Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon searched for years during the 16th century for the Fountain of Youth. He believed if he drank the mysterious waters from the legendary spring he would never grow old. Too bad no one told him about strength training — he could have stopped his search early.

Today, so many of us are looking for a magical quick-fix to maintain youthful appearance and vitality. Truth be told, there is no quick fix, but there is one remedy that has proven successful time and time again: strength training.

Strength training, defined as the use of resistance to muscular contraction to by using gravity or elastic/hydraulic forces to oppose muscle contraction, is the closest thing to the Fountain of Youth we’ll ever find. From strengthening your bones to benefiting your heart and improving your balance, no other single activity has more of a positive impact on your mind and body.

Here are just a few benefits of strength training:

1. Increases bone density

As with muscle, people lose up to one percent of their bone density per year after the age of thirty — an amount that doubles during menopause. This can lead to osteoporosis. Regular weight bearing exercise counteracts this.

2. Increases metabolism

Studies show that for each pound of muscle you gain, you will burn 35-50 more calories daily. Every muscle cell gained from weight lifting revs up your metabolism so you are constantly burning more calories; even while you are sleeping.

3. Promotes better posture

Not only does proper posture allow you to move with more freedom and make you feel more confident, it will also make you look slimmer.

4. Reduces risk of diabetes

Adult-onset diabetes is a growing problem for women and men. Research indicates even 4 months of regular weight training, you can increase glucose utilization in the body by 23 percent.

5. Reduces stress

Strength training will elevate your level of endorphins (natural opiates produced by the brain), and this will make you feel great. Strength training has also been shown to be a great antidepressant; it can help you sleep better, and improves your overall quality of life.

6. Preserves lean muscle mass

Referring to muscle hypertrophy and atrophy, Hippocrates famously wrote, “that which if used develops, and that which if not used wastes away.” Regular strength training will protect and preserve lean muscle mass, helping you burn calories more efficiently and avoid the saggy skin that tends to mark where you were once toned.

7. Protects the back and joints from injury

The best way to protect your bones and joints is to ensure their surrounding muscles are strong enough to support them. Your abdominals (your core) supports your spine, your leg muscles support your knee, etc. If these muscles aren’t reinforced and strong, injuries are more likely to occur.

Weight Training Will Benefit You No Matter How Old You Are

Now, I’m not talking about body building or bulking muscle, but, rather, the implementation of a regular, light weight strength training routine that targets specific muscle groups. And studies show that increasing your strength is possible at any age. Even men and women in their 70s and 80s improve their health with strength training. (Note: It’s always a good idea to check with your doctor before starting a strength training program.)

Always be sure to warm up your muscles with 15 minutes of light cardio before you get started. You are more likely to pull a muscle if your body is cold. And, give yourself at least a day of rest (though you may need more after the first workout) between workouts for your muscles to recover.

Remember, you want to challenge yourself, not kill yourself. The first few weeks, focus on learning how to do each exercise rather than on how much weight you’re lifting or how many exercises you’re doing. You have plenty of time to build muscle.

Strength training will make you will feel healthier, you’ll have more energy, look better, reduce the risk of injury and decrease joint and muscle pain. It’s the closest thing we have to the Fountain of Youth. And remember, it is never too late to get started.

Article Sources

http://www.saintvincenthealth.com/Services/Sports-Medicine

http://sportsmedicine.about.com

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_articles

This article was republished with permission from Live in the Now, one of the fastest growing natural health newsletters. Visit LiveInTheNow.com. to browse their complete library of articles, or subscribe to their newsletter.


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Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Wake Up World or its staff.

  • Mel

    Sources you might recommend for total novices to strength training?

  • Wesley

    One of the primary reasons for the age-related loss in muscle mass is actually related to the Master Hormone, Human Growth Hormone, released by the pituitary gland during the REM phase of sleep.

    Strength training, along with obvious proper nutrition, is the way to stimulate the pituitary gland because the body is a machine that is hard-coded to protect itself. It knows that HGH is required in higher doses in order to build or repair lean muscle mass because HGH repairs and reinforces the CELLS in your body.

    These days too many folks end up getting HGH injections instead of doing something that is far cheaper and results in so many additional benefits: strength training to naturally increase your body’s OWN supply of HGH.

    Other people are duped into believing that HGH can be taken orally, in a pill for example. Lab testing has proven this administration technique as completely useless and a waste of money.

    Great article. Such a shame that people DIET instead of chosing to live a healthy and active life.

  • Thank you for sharing. I have been feeling this intuitively for quite a while. Th is article is the inspiration to actually ‘do’ something about it.