Strength Training (cont.)
Why Do Resistance Exercise?
- It builds muscle strength and tone. Humans lose 5 pounds of muscle every decade after age 30.
- The number of muscle fibers declines with age. From age 30 to age 70 we can lose more than 25% of the type 2 muscle fibers in our bodies (type 2 fibers are our strength fibers). Resistance exercise can slow down or even reverse the aging process by building muscle mass and strength.
- It's been shown to build bone. Osteoporosis, a condition of accelerated bone mineral loss which leads to fractures, can be a crippling disease, particularly in women (although men get it, too), and research on resistance exercise suggests that it can build bone even in the elderly.
- There is some evidence that resistance exercise helps lower moderately high blood pressure.
- More strength can lead to fewer falls in the elderly.
- Resistance exercise can raise metabolic rate, an important factor in maintaining body weight.
- It's never too late to start. In one study of elderly men and women (mean age 87) who lifted weights
three times per week for 10 weeks, strength increased a whopping 113%! The improvement in strength enabled the elderly participants to also walk faster (12% faster than before the study), climb 28% more stairs, and it even caused the muscles in their thighs to increase by more than 2.5%.
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