Feature Articles: Exercise
Strength Train to Stay Healthy
Tammy Roberts, MS, RD, LD,
As we age, we worry about the ability to just perform the
activities of daily living such as putting groceries away,
mowing the yard or sweeping the floor. According to Dr. Miriam
Nelson of Tufts University, strength training is a “powerful
antidote” to the loss of muscle mass and the development of
chronic diseases that are associated with aging.
In her “Strong Women Program”, Dr. Nelson describes several
benefits of weight training. They include:
Arthritis Relief- People who participated in a 16-week
strength training program reported a decrease in pain and an
increase in strength.
Reduction of Falls- As we age, we lose our balance
which can contribute to falls and broken bones. Strength
training can help increase our sense of balance.
Bone Density- Strength training helps to increase bone
density and prevent osteoporosis.
Weight Management- When you build muscle you are building your body’s ability to burn calories. Muscles burn more calories than fat. Strength training can increase metabolism by as much as 15%.
Improved Glucose Control- Studies have shown that persons with diabetes who participated in 16 weeks of strength training had improvements in blood glucose control.
Reduce Risk for Heart Disease- Cardiac patients gain
strength, flexibility and aerobic capacity when they participate
in strength training three times per week
Sleep Improvement- People who exercise regularly fall
asleep more quickly, sleep more deeply, awaken less often and
sleep longer than those who do not.
Usually, people notice an improvement in strength and flexibility after just eight weeks of exercising one hour two or three times per week. If you are interested in doing strength training, discuss it with your physician before starting any program. If you are interested in strength training classes, contact your local fitness facility. It can be fun and motivating to exercise with other people.
Last update: Tuesday, May 05, 2009