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Resistance Training

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Resistance Training Has Many Health Benefits

By Linda Stollings | Published: May 20, 2009—the Bristol Herald Courier
As you might have guessed, I am very passionate about fitness and helping people find their niche in the world of wellness. I truly enjoy the look on the face of my clients when I see they get it, they know what it takes to succeed. Needless to say, I have gotten several other looks from my clients over my career, and some of them were simply not pretty.

I am certain they wanted to say something quite unpleasant to me when I was pushing them to do just a little bit more. But fortunately for me, they bit their tongue and eventually were glad that they had been pushed to reach their very best fitness level.

They finally realized that wellness is a lifestyle, not just a temporary fix. They feel better, feel stronger and look their best. I know at that point they will not stop their fitness plan because they have seen some pretty astonishing results.

Getting there, however, may be quite the challenge. As I mentioned last week when it comes to the component of fitness called resistance training, “more is less.”

The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism. One might say you are a calorie-burning machine. But actually, how many people do you know resistance train on a regular basis?

I am not usually a numbers person, but the following numbers have great significance to me and to what I do. Let’s look at the following:

  • 80 percent of adults do not exercise for muscular strength or endurance.
  • 30 is the age at which the average person begins to lose muscle mass.
  • 1 – 2 percent strength is lost yearly after the age of 30.
  • 20 – 30 minutes of resistance training is needed to strengthen all major muscle groups.
  • 2 – 3 days per week of strength training is recommended for good health.

Well, those numbers are quiet sobering to a personal trainer. Eighty percent of adults do not exercise for muscular strength or endurance – wow, that doesn’t speak very good for my job security!

With all kidding aside, that statistic is concerning. Why do people choose not to exercise? As you can see from the numbers above, it does not take a whole lot of time to build a little muscle. You will see improvement in a short period of time, especially if you are a male because of the higher testosterone levels.

Women, before you get discouraged, let me tell you that you too can build muscle, raise your metabolism, improve appearance and much more. After all, we do not want to look like a man – just give us a little definition and tone, and we are good to go.

When I first began to train women with weights, some were worried that they would develop big shoulders or massive, masculine musculature because of weight training.

Be assured ladies that shoulder width, like hip width, is influenced by genetics and that significant muscle gains require strenuous weight lifting for many months and higher levels of sex hormones such as androgen and testosterone.

So ladies, do not be afraid to train with weights. You will experience the following:

  • Weight control
  • Lean and well–toned appearance
  • Shapely body
  • Energy
  • Injury prevention
  • Bone strength
  • Flexibility
  • Balance
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Psychological benefits
  • Social benefits

We will take a closer look at each of these benefits in next’s week’s column.

Regardless of your age or gender, you can benefit from resistance training. It is not true that loss of strength and muscle is inevitable with age. The typical adult individual can lose up to 30 percent of his or her muscle mass between the ages of 20-70, but this loss is more from disuse rather that from aging alone.

If you have ever broken a bone and had a cast put on it, you notice that that part of your body atrophies or becomes weaker and smaller due to disuse. The same is true for all the muscles in your body. “Use it or lose it” certainly applies to your muscles.

See you in the gym.

 

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