Although there are many reading this who can’t imagine living without the next workout, others have lived dumbbell and push up free since high school. How you choose to live your life is your prerogative. What you deserve is an understanding that strength training isn’t simply for athletes and the young adult males. It is for everyone. The paradox of strength training is that those who often resist it or ignore it are the ones who can benefit most from it. This includes the middle aged to elderly especially women.
Old is Gold
There is an overwhelming amount of research that points to the fact that strength training adopted as a regular habit throughout life is increasingly beneficial as you grow older. As we age our body composition changes steadily thanks to a condition known as age related sarcopenia. Beginning as early as our thirties our muscle mass diminishes naturally over time. Those of us who are less active can lose as much as 3-5% per decade. Our more active peers still lose muscle but can decelerate the process significantly.. Essentially, if you are not making concentrated efforts to strengthen the muscle you have today, you make the decision to live without it tomorrow.
Beyond muscle loss, strength training stresses your bones in a positive way, strengthening your skeletal structure and building bone density. This is important later in life. This fact is of particular interest to ladies who are far more likely to suffer from osteoporosis. Strength training done with increasing resistance and proper form also builds muscular endurance and physical strength, aiding our older citizens manage chronic conditions and pains such as back pain, arthritis, heart disease and diabetes as well as powering through periods of fatigue that are no longer stronger than you.
We live in an incredible time to adopt fitness routines into our lives. It is an age where people can learn everything they need to from the ground up via various platforms. Strength training doesn’t have to be something intimidating and by no means are you expected to be an expert right from the get go. If you make a concentrated effort to eat right and do cardio, good on you. Adding weight training could give you that extra edge you have been seeking for a myriad of reasons.
Beyond the benefits mentioned above (body composition, bone density, chronic pain), strength training improves flexibility, improves posture, increases stamina and forces you out of your comfort zone. If you spend enough time uncomfortable, your body and mind will adapt, making the tasks easier and as a result making you stronger inside and out.
Many women know these benefits, although there is never any harm in repeating them. What many ladies seem to worry about is becoming bulky or too muscular from weight training. To be completely honest, any woman who has achieved this level of muscle tone and size has done so with extremely concentrated effort including lifting very heavy weights. More importantly, they must start eating a large abundance of calories a day. For regular women, the mass that they will build will be lean and mean, replacing body fat and leaving toned, sculpted and extremely feminine muscle in its place. You can do cardio until the cows come home, but without the toning, sculpting and power that comes from resistance training, you will never have your best physique or feel your strongest. Strength is after all a mother quality. It makes going up stairs or lifting a 4 year old easier. It makes running a 5K that much easier as well. The benefits that relate to self-esteem and confidence alone make it worthwhile.
Today’s post title is a truthful statement. Not everyone needs strength training. Those who do not want to live life as the best version of themselves need not worry about putting together a routine, mastering form and pushing themselves. Only those that aim for greatness, wellness, health and vitality should incorporate resistance training into their weekly schedules.
A little bit goes a long way and the routines can incorporate everything from body weight (air squats and push ups), resistance bands and rubber tubes all the way to dumbbells, barbells and wonderful kettlebells. Various types of yoga are also great for strength training and toning. Relaxing into a pose sounds much easier than it is. The most important thing is to find something that you enjoy doing and that challenges you in a way you can appreciate. We have included some great individuals and resources for learning about strength training below.