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Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Benefits of Strength Training As We Age

As we age there is a natural tendency to loose muscle mass and bone density. One exercise type that has been proven to delay this is strength training. When the topic of strength training is brought up, many people envision men with bulging muscles grunting and pushing huge amounts of weights on barbells skyward. While this may be true in some select gyms, these types of people are actually in the minority. Most of us do not have the genetics, time, desire, or youth to become like these elite bodybuilders and powerlifters.

This is not say that strength training cannot have major health benefits for most of us because of the following reasons. Increased muscle strength that assists us in our daily activities. Basically, an individual can do more with less effort. Increased tendon strength (these are the parts that connect muscles to bones so that we can use our muscles to move various body parts). Decreased injuries since muscles and tendons become stronger and less prone to injuries. Increased bone density that can decrease the likelihood of broken bones. Less joint degeneration due to the fact that the muscles and tendons surrounding the joints can now offer a stronger system of support for the joints. Better circulation since most exercise stimulates blood flow throughout the muscles. As we get older strength training can decrease the chance of falling and breaking bones. Stronger muscles allow for better control of our bodies so that we can remain more balanced under all circumstances. If we combine our strength training with stretching it can lead to a fuller range of functional motion within the muscles and joints. A feeling of well being. Having toned up muscles makes most people feel better physically, and knowing that you look better can create a sense of satisfaction.

There are different types of strength training and it is not always necessary to join a gym in order to get a successful workout. You can find programs doing basic calisthenics. These are exercises where you use mainly your body weight as resistance. A typical calisthenics program may include pushups, crunches chin ups, and an assortment of similar type exercises using items from around the house and your bodyweight. There are also programs using bands of rubber to provide the resistance. In these programs you may hook the band around various body parts to act as resistance or temporarily attach the band to table leg or door. Free weights are a popular way to get stronger. This is where you use weights on barbells and dumbells with some other equipment to provide resistance. In the health clubs you may find other strength training machines such as Nautilus equipment and several other brands of equipment. Most of these machines are good ways to strengthen the body once you have been shown the correct usage of them.

Some people will create a program using a combination of the above ways of training. All of the methods listed have been proven to increase strength if done in the right manner over the correct duration of time. The important thing to keep in mind is that to make progress you need to get started and stick with your program consistently. So figure out what type of program works based on your circumstances and get started. The results are definitely worth the effort.

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