- Tuesday, 28 July 2009
Would you place yourself in the “healthy” category? Do you eat relatively well the majority of the time? Are you moderately active, feeling like you could not possibly be missing out on anything that would improve your overall health and longevity? What would you say if someone told you the secret to enhancing almost every function in your body? Despite all the care you are already taking, would you be interested and willing to listen? The secret is strength training.
Strength training is an extremely important facet in our overall health and is most frequently overlooked. About 40% of our body contains muscle used to control our various movements, which is why strength training is critical to help build muscle and increase bone integrity. Every decade, as you lose muscle tissue, your metabolism also decreases by about 5 percent 1. An ongoing resistance training program can maintain or increase your muscle mass and metabolism, reducing the onus on constant dieting to maintain a healthy weight as you age. More importantly, cosmetic surgery, supplements, or special foods are not necessary for this achievement, just some good old fashion resistance training.
What is strength training?
Strength training is the use of resistance coupled with gravity to contract and build muscle. Often, people shy away from strength training due to the fear and misconception that it will build bulk and increase their weight. This is a myth and untrue. By training your muscles, you can increase your metabolism and improve your posture through development of your core muscles and strength.
Benefits of strength training include building healthy bones, good posture through muscle conditioning, increasing your metabolism, preventing ailments associated with aging, and overall quality of life improvements. Most importantly, strength training balances the body. Running or yoga exercises work the same strength or muscle group over and over, whereas strength training 2 to 3 times a week can assist in developing the body as a whole.
How to get started?
Simple as 1-2-3. Whether you are a beginner or a fitness enthusiast, the same principles apply. Begin by asking a professional trainer to teach you exercises to ensure you are doing them correctly and have the right form. Start by using your own body and as your strength improves, add weight through dumbbells, kettle bells, bands, tubing, etc.
Here are some exercise suggestions to get started:
Squats and deadlifts to strengthen hamstrings, glutes and spinal erectors
Chin ups and push ups to build upper body strength
Stretching to complete the cycle
With all the time and money invested into our health, why not exercise our strength? In the words of Hipporcrates, “That which is used develops, and that which is not wastes away”. When strength training is incorporated into an established nutrition and fitness regime, it prepares your body to handle anything life throws it. In a recent training with Baron Baptiste, he asked the group of participants, “If not now, when? And if not you, who?” The time is now – allow strength training to position you to be a strong, driving force in your life.
Westcott and Baechle, 1998