Despite the reputation that strength training has as being a “guy” thing or a “jock” thing, we all benefit from adding strength training into our daily lives. If you are only focused on aerobic type of exercise you are missing out on a large component to overall health.
Unfortunately, muscle mass decreases naturally with age. If you do not do something to replenish the muscle you will naturally loose, you will end up decreasing your lean muscle mass and increase your percentage of body fat. Strength training can help you preserve and enhance your muscle mass at any age. Research has shown that an 86 year old has the same ability to build muscle mas as an 18 year old, so don’t let age convince you otherwise.
Strength training helps in other areas as well:
- By stressing your bones like we do in air shield attack, you are actually increasing bone density and reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
- As you gain more lean muscle mass, you are able to burn more calories effectively and the more toned your muscles, the easier it is to control your weight.
- Building muscles help protect your joints from injury and contribute to better balance, which can help you stay independent longer as you age as well.
- Increasing muscle mass also boosts your stamina helping you to not fatigue as easily.
- By strength training, you are also able to help the signs and symptoms of many chronic conditions such as arthritis, back pain, depression, diabetes, and obesity.
- Some research has also suggested that strength training helps to improve attention in older adults.
So, what can we do to increase our strength training? There are many options beginning with the easiest and cheapest. You can use your own body weight with exercises such as push-ups, abdominal crunches or leg lifts, and leg squats. There is also use products like resistance bands or tubes. These items are easily found at sporting good stores. If you have free weight or weight machines you can also use these to help gain muscle mass. As stated earlier, having an airshield or wavemaster (or other bag) is another great way to build muscle while providing resistance training aid in muscles and bone density. As you punch or kick a shield you are forcing blood into your bones which in turn nourishes them and helps them become more dense.
I prefer a combination of strength training methods. You need to try several out and see what works best for you. Mix them up to keep a variety and keep from becoming bored. Either way, let’s make this year a year to increase all of our muscles - spiritually, intellectually, and physically.
Much of the above information taken from the Mayo Clinic on-line.