While eat less; move more; live longer is the mantra of this blog, I hasten to add that strength training should be an integral part of that move more aspect. Harvard HEALTHbeat has come out with a new publication on strength and power training.
Here’s what Harvard has to say on the subject: “Most of us know that strength training (with free weights, weight machines, or resistance bands) can help build and maintain muscle mass and strength. What many of us don’t know is that strong muscles lead to strong bones. And strong bones can help minimize the risk of fracture due to osteoporosis.
“A combination of age-related changes, inactivity, and poor nutrition conspire to steal bone mass at the rate of 1% per year after age 40. As bones grow more fragile and susceptible to fracture, they are more likely to break after even a minor fall or a far less obvious stress, such as bending over to tie a shoelace.
“Osteoporosis should be a concern for all of us. Eight million women and two million men in the United States have osteoporosis. It is now responsible for more than two million fractures a year, and experts expect that number will rise. Hip fractures are usually the most serious. Six out of 10 people who break a hip never fully regain their former level of independence. Even walking across a room without help may be impossible.”
I have written several posts on osteoporosis. You can read further on the subject here: What Can I do to Prevent Osteoporosis? An Early Sign of Osteoporosis? Are Men Vulnerable to Osteoporosis as Well as Women? Continue reading
Although I don’t consider it fun, I realize that weight training is a necessity for living a healthy life and keeping my body working.
Here are seven tips from Harvard Medical School that my brother passed along to me.
“Strength or resistance training challenges your muscles with a stronger-than-usual counterforce, such as pushing against a wall or lifting a dumbbell or pulling on a resistance band. Using progressively heavier weights or increasing resistance makes muscles stronger. This kind of exercise increases muscle mass, tones muscles, and strengthens bones. It also helps you maintain the strength you need for everyday activities — lifting groceries, climbing stairs, rising from a chair, or rushing for the bus.
“The current national guidelines for physical activity recommend strengthening exercises for all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, chest, abdomen, shoulders, and arms) at least twice a week. One set — usually 8 to 12 repetitions of the same movement — per session is effective, though some evidence suggests that two to three sets may be better. Your muscles need at least 48 hours to recover between strength training sessions.
These seven tips can keep your strength training safe and effective.
1 Warm up and cool down for five to 10 minutes. Walking is a fine way to warm up; stretching is an excellent way to cool down. Continue reading
Since bad information is worse than no information, I thought I would pass this along.
Must say I was gratified to learn that running on a treadmill is not helpful. Something about those machines gives me the willies.
It’s good to remember that weight bearing exercise helps your bones as well as your muscles …. FRAX is a Fracture Risk Assessment Tool …
Explosivelyfit Strength Training, LLC
Exercise-good for your bones
After looking at the FRAX and maybe scaring yourself into doing something useful for your body when it comes to taking care of your bone health here are a few guidelines for starting an exercise program.
To begin with, exercising for at least a half an hour a day with weight bearing activities such as walking, jogging, skipping rope, running, or the mild plyometric rope skipping will improve the health of your bones. The literature recommends higher intensity load bearing such as that encountered when strength training.
When strength training, do so standing up, and not on a bench or a machine. The hips and spine seem to respond better to the upright position rather than the laying down or sitting versions of many popular exercises. A different neurological signal is sent to the bones when lying down as when compared to standing up.
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One of the challenges of aging is the gradual diminishing of our physical powers. Our muscles still do the same thing, but muscle mass shrinks with age as does actual strength. Beginning at age 30, sarcopenia, decline in muscle tissue, sets in.
According to the Harvard Medical School’s Strength and Power Training: A guide for adults of all ages, “The average 30-year-old can expect to lose about 25% of muscle mass and strength by age 70 and another 25% by age 90.”
While aging accounts for some of this loss, disuse is another major culprit. Harvard said, “Studies of older adults consistently prove that a good deal of the decline in strength can be recouped with strength training.
“Likewise, power can be regained. With age and disuse, the nerve-signaling system that recruits muscle fibers for tasks deteriorates. Fast-twitch fibers, which provide bursts of power, are lost at a greater rate than slow-twitch fibers. You might think of a nerve pathway as a set of paving stones leading to a destination. As the years pass, the path may become overgrown and disappear in spots rather than remain well traveled and clearly marked. Preliminary power training studies suggest that movements designed to restore neural pathways can reverse this effect. Continue reading