Updated: Mar 15
Exercise is medicine, right? But not all medicines are equal, and neither is exercise- especially when we get into our 40s, 50s and beyond!
Strength Training - The anti ageing elixir?
The elixir of anti aging is in fact to to be found in strength training, which ironically is something you often don’t see middle aged people doing that much! Strength training does not have to involve weights, your body weight will also suffice. But when you get strong, amazing things start to change in your body.
A study of sedentary police offices helps us understand this further:
They were divided into 3 groups all on a limited calorie intake:
Group 1: no exercise
Group 2 and 3: 4 strength training workouts per week
After 12 weeks: group 1 lost an average of 5.5 pounds, including 1 pound of muscle. Group 2 and 3: lost an average of 12 pounds of fat whilst GAINING 7 pounds of muscle!
Conclusion: correct nutrition plus strength training CHANGES your body composition making your metabolism faster, thereby making you a calorie burning machine!
Strength Training is NOT just about aesthetics.
Here are 4 key anti-aging health gifts it can bestow upon you:
Studies have shown that those who maintain their strength as they age are three times less likely to experience any kind of physical impairment or disability later in life compared to those who don’t.
It strengthens our bones reducing the risk of developing osteoporosis and fractures
It helps fight heart disease. A subject too close to home, with my husband’s recent heart attack. Heart disease is the number one killer in the developed world.Strength training reduces cholesterol and blood pressure which are huge contributing factors to heart disease.
Strength training reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. This disease takes millions of lives every year, and strength training has been shown to be as effective, if not more so, than cardio exercise for reducing blood sugar levels and diabetes symptoms.
Strength training is not just for the gym!
You can use fixed equipment at a gym, but a set of dumbbells or resistance bands at home are super effective as well. And even just using your own body weight will work wonders and totally transform your body when combined with the correct nutrition.
Improve brain function as you age
And finally, Stength Training can help maintain healthy brain function as we age. In a study at the University of British Columbia with 155 women aged 65-75, researchers found that women who did just one or two strength training workouts per week for a year, improved cognitive function by 12%. Whilst women who followed only a strength and balancing routine, experienced a 0.5 % decrease in cognitive function. Several years later, researchers found that the women who did two strength training workout a week kept more of their white brain matter than those who didn't. White brain matter is responsible for passing messages between different parts of the nervous system, and naturally declines with age.
The bottom line on strength training for anti-ageing
Strength training is the single best way to improve every aspect of your health and fitness and wellbeing. With just a few hours a week you can slow down or even reverse some of the signs of ageing with the following benefits:
Improves strength, flexibility and endurance
helps you to lose body fat and gain muscle
reduces the risk of accidents and injures as well as chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis.
Lowers LDL (bad cholesterol) and raises HDL (good cholesterol)
improves brain function and protects against cognitive decline
This is why weights and/or body resistance exercises are incorporated into my six week challenges. By joining the next one you can start unlocking a lifelong positive relationship with nutrition and fitness and become the very best version of you!