Strength training is critical for the over-40s and yo-yo dieters
MyFitness personal trainer Kristjan Koik says that because our bones become weaker and our muscle mass declines as we age, regular strength training is particularly important for the over-40s – and can even boost muscle in people up to the age of 100.
“If you divide training into two groups – cardiovascular and strength training – they prompt different adaptations at the cellular level,” Koik explains.
He says that strength training should be favoured by those who are constantly battling their weight and testing new diets. “People who’ve tried every diet out there have probably lost a considerable amount of muscle mass, and every time the latest diet comes to an end and they put on weight again, more of it will be fat and less of it will be muscle,” he warns.
Up to 50% of muscle mass can be lost as we age
“I definitely recommend strength training to older people, since we lose muscle mass and our bones weaken as our age increases,” Koik adds. “By the time you reach your 80s you can have lost as much as 50% of your muscles. Studies have shown that people in their 70s, 80s, 90s and even those older than 100 can regain muscle through strength training. Age is no barrier!”
According to the personal trainer, the benefits of strength training are many and varied. In addition to preventing our bones from weakening and our bodies from losing both muscle and overall strength, such training can increase joint movement and flexibility, improve balance and coordination, combat stress and anxiety, promote cognitive ability, boost confidence, increase strength and speed and improve quality of life overall.
Lower risks of diabetes and terminal cancer
Koik says that strength training also lowers the risk of diabetes, coronary disease and cancer and helps to reduce the likelihood of falls, broken bones and accidents leading to people becoming invalids. It has also been proven that strength training contributes to speeding up the metabolism and reducing the amount of fat and the levels of triglycerides, general cholesterol and LDL cholesterol in the body while increasing the amount of useful HDL cholesterol.
A study conducted among 32,000 adult men showed that those who did more than 150 minutes of strength training a week had a 34% lower risk of contracting diabetes. It has been found that doing strength training a couple of times a week also reduces the risk of dying from cancer by 34%.
Where to start
“Strength training leads to improvements in lots of health indicators, especially if you combine it with the optimal aerobic load and healthy eating,” Koik advises. “I recommend it to everyone, but in particular those who are overweight, who have too little muscle mass and whose strength leaves something to be desired.”
The expert says that the easiest first step is to call or e-mail a person trainer and agree on a time to meet so as to get important advice on how to work out properly. “If you go to the gym consistently and actually know what you’re doing while you’re there, results are just a question of time,” he says. “Going about it the right way will leave you feeling great and give your health a big boost as well.”
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