When you picture yourself older, grayer, and living out your golden years, you probably don’t image throwing around weight like 1970’s Schwarzenegger.
Maybe you don’t need to look like the Terminator when you reach your later years. But you should still be incorporating strength training into your routine if you want to live your best, longest life.
Here are a few reasons why strength training is important for longevity:
You’re more mobile
Having strong muscles means you can have muscular endurance. As you get older, some of this will naturally deteriorate. Strength training is the best way to combat that deterioration.
When you’re strong, your life is easier. You’re more able to perform day-to-day tasks without straining yourself. If you want to hold on to that, you should be doing some kind of strength training.
In order to see the benefits, most experts recommend at least two 30-minute strength training sessions per day.
Strength training reduces your risk of disease
Strength training – and exercise in general – is obviously good for you. Many studies have shown that strength training decreases your risk of many diseases, including heart disease and cancer.
Strength training increases your lean muscle mass. This gives your heart places to send blood and takes the pressure off the arteries. This decreases your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Increased muscle mass also has been shown to decrease your risk of type 2 diabetes.
Strength training increases bone density
As you get older, your bones start to become weaker. In general, things like inactivity, poor nutrition, and age-related changes decrease your bone density by about 1% after age 40. Strength training slows that process.
As you strength train, you put some stress on your bones. This stress encourages previously inactive bone cells to get back to work. Over time, you get stronger, denser bones.
Strong muscles decrease your risk of injury
Because strength training makes you more mobile, reduces your risk of disease, and increases your bone density, it also decreases your risk of injury.
Injuries become way more common as we age. Things like simple falls can lead to serious injuries like broken hips, torn ligaments and worse.
In order to prevent these kinds of injuries, we have to be strong, mobile, and comfortable with our bodies. Weightlifting encourages all of those things.
Strength training is safe
It may seem unsafe to be throwing around massive amounts of weight as you get older, but that is not necessarily the case. Strength training, done correctly, is one of the safest exercises you can do.
You don’t have to train like a competitive bodybuilder to see the results of strength training. Most experts say you will see the results working out a minimum of two times per week on nonconsecutive days with moderate intensity.
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