The Value of Strength Training

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Filed Under: Exercise, General Health
Last Reviewed 04/18/2014

Did you know that we lose more than six pounds of lean muscle mass per decade of life after our twenties, a loss that accelerates after age 45? Some of this decline is age-related; however, the primary reason our muscles shrink is because we don’t use them.

Fortunately, there is something that restores muscle mass: using them. And weight training is an effective method.

Strength training can also provide many of the same benefits as aerobic exercise, including improved cholesterol levels and enhanced cardiovascular fitness.

In older individuals, strength training may actually be more important than aerobic exercise in preventing functional decline. In fact, the American College of Sports Medicine now recommends that sedentary adults over age 65 begin their fitness program with strength and balance training, adding low-impact aerobic exercise later.

I wish there were a way to begin weight training on your own. Believe me, I’ve been looking high and low for such a program. However, I am convinced that you need some instruction in order to get started right.

It doesn’t have to be with a personal trainer, although this is the option I chose. A group class at your gym or a friend experienced in weight training would be fine. Once you get the hang of lifting and understand the basics of proper technique, you can continue on your own. Ideally, you’ll want to aim for three sessions of weightlifting a week as part of your exercise regimen.
 

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