NOT Strength Training Has GREATER Consequences (Cont'd)

Stronger people live longer.   Yet we're so often told how important it is to walk/jog/bike, but hardly ever reminded to do our deadlifts, presses and squats.  Yet, no generation has as much to gain from resistance training. And that's not just for those aged 50-65 years.  It can stretch well beyond. Major gains have been shown in strength trainers in their 80's.  Stronger bones, joints, muscles, heart; greater agility.  And it's not just for men;  women have equal benefits; and potentially greater gains in avoiding falls, and their long-term consequences. (Which are often a slowed up life-style, less exercise, another fall, each step bringing an increased risk of mortality, or reduced life expectation)

A properly-designed strength training program constitutes a much better use of the same amount of time as a “cardio” workout, and provides far more benefits. This is especially true if you are older. We lose muscle mass and strength more rapidly as we age; bones weaken too. Loss of capability is a loss of satisfaction, and a source of regret when one looks back at things one couldn’t or wouldn’t do. There’s also increased risk through accident, injury, slower recovery and less support of bodily systems, such as your metabolism, that strength training provides. It’s the same for both men and women.  And for the first time in known history, this older generation now shows, by many signs, poorer health than the earlier one. (See:  Journal of the American Medical Association- the Comments section gives the conclusions)

A strength program can be rigorous enough to make you breathe harder and elevate your heart rate. This gets you in better cardiovascular shape, even though it’s not distance running or cycling. (And it can improve brain-muscle connection to a level that makes you a better cyclist) Contrast this with LSD (long, slow, distance) — the “cardio” usually performed conscientiously by everyone concerned about their health. It makes your heart beat faster, it makes you breathe harder … and that’s about it. Your body quickly adapts and avoids weight loss, especially fat.  Yes, there is a place for “pure” cardio, and it’s great to do if you enjoy it.  But it’s not enough, and has significant risks.  Just do cardio and you lose muscle after a short while...

When the human body is allowed to sit on its ass instead of doing the muscular work that keeps it strong, it is being placed in a situation that its physiology is not designed for. Muscular activity is natural. Inactivity is not. Intellectual pursuits notwithstanding, doing the things that keep you strong may well be the most important things you do.  (This is a condensation of parts an article by Mark Rippetoe, an American coach and writer)

How Healthy Is Resistance (Strength) Training?

This question was posed to a coach, Darren Beattie, a personal trainer and coach in Vancouver, Canada, on, where he has thousands of followers.

  1. I’d argue that it’s ‘healthier’ than almost any other kind of exercise for the following reasons:
  2. It has very low injury potential relative to chaotic and unpredictable sports
  3. Very low volume relative to endurance sports (which yield a lot of overuse injuries because of a lot of repetition)
  4. Big bang for the buck – less time invested with better results for your ‘health’
  5. Strength and power production have the highest correlation to quality of life as we age (they are also among the best longevity predictors) They improve metabolic pathways (like insulin sensitivity, glucose/blood sugar control, etc… and in fact I’d argue this is its main use-case for weight/fat loss)
  6. It maintains proper mobility/flexibility when done through full ranges of motion in a variety of planes
  7. It decreases injury potential in other sports/daily activities
  8. It improves aerobic and anaerobic energy system development (output)
  9. It improves and maintains good posture
  10. It combats sedentary life from a variety of angles (heart, lungs, flexibility, posture, etc…etc…)
  11. It increases force production and consequently performance in everyday life
  12. It’s more complete in its offering by comparison to pure endurance training (and endurance training’s contribution to your ‘health’) -  though I still recommend people do some energy system (endurance) training in addition

What Really Matters To Us When We Age? The Effect On Our Health and Our Lifestyles

We’re not preparing properly for later years.  For many people, the view of exercise for older adults has been that it’s not to be taken seriously – after all, they’re in the “golden years”. Shouldn’t we just take it easy?  Many regard exercise as a waste of time, and perhaps even harmful to an aging body.   It is now known that older adults, even those in their 80s and 90s, respond to appropriate exercise training by becoming healthier and stronger.  Read the Whole Article