I want to emphasize the importance of maintaining your STRENGTH with resistance training. You need to LIFT HEAVY THINGS on a regular basis. (If you didn’t read last weeks newsletter I would encourage you to. Prior to lifting heavy things you need to have stability. I explained it all last week!)
Can building muscles actually help us live longer? According to new research, unequivocally yes.
In the September 27th issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine, “Older adults who participated in weight lifting exercises had significantly lower mortality before and after factoring in aerobic exercise participation, and importantly, those who did both types had the lowest risk.” In fact, those who took part in some kind of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity once or twice a week as well as lifting weights improved their chances of living longer by a whopping 41%!!
They also found that the association was stronger in women. And so, if any of you are rooting for the woman in your life to stick around long term, seems like the best thing you can do is encourage her to lift weights and get her heart pumping.
Still don’t believe me? Maybe you’ll listen to Dr Keith Baar, Professor at the Department of Physiology and Membrane Biology in the UC-Davis School of Medicine:
“The big thing that we know is that if you’re in the strongest third of the population, you’re two-and-a-half times more likely to make it to your hundredth birthday, and that’s if you’re in the strongest third of the population at midlife. If you’re in your 50s and you’re one of the strongest 50-year-olds, you’re two and a half times more likely to make it to 100. In humans, the number one correlate with longevity seems to be muscle mass and strength because basically the stronger you are the more you can survive certain diseases.”
But here’s something even more important: Muscular strength doesn’t just increase lifespan. Having strong, healthy muscles enhances health span. Not only does it help us live longer, it helps us get more life in our years.
Why is Resistance Training so Potent of an Anti-Ager?
By our early 40s, most of us are losing muscle mass at a rate of about 5% a decade, that speeds up as we pass 50. This decline often precipitates a long slide towards frailty and dependence. Not only does resistance training cause everyone to gain muscle mass and strength, it also helps build bone density, better mobility, improve mental sharpness and mood and enhances metabolic health.
- reduce the likelihood of falling, and due to their bone building properties, if you do fall, you are less likely to break a bone.
- are better at storing glucose in the form of glycogen . When glucose is stored instead of roaming around freely in the blood, it helps to reduce overall blood sugar levels which further decreases the risk of developing diabetes.
- make you more metabolic, since muscles burn calories just by their presence.
- stimulate the release of brain proteins that are known to ‘fertilize’ your brain and actually cause the memory centres to grow.
I truly could go on . The benefits are endless.
But shockingly, lifting only helps those who commit to it on a regular basis, and statistics indicate that barely 17% of older individuals regularly lift weights.
So, if you are already lifting regularly, good for you! You are in a brilliant minority group, those that don’t take their health for granted. Those that know they only get one body and we sure as heck should take care of it.
If you aren’t committed to a regular resistance training program trust me when I say you are not too old, it is not too late, you’re right on time.