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Strength Training For A Longer Life

Updated: Oct 12, 2022

Karen featured in this photo is 65 Years old and proving week by week the effective results from Strength Training - Now has a target of a 100kg Deadlift!

I have seen so many positive results physically and mentally, all coming from Strength and Conditioning. It is not all about lifting extremely heavy weights, it is about effective programming which is focussed to aid and progress. From my own experience I used to neglect the faulty mechanics, so not addressing my mobility, instability, coordination and general imbalances with functional movement patterns. without addressing these fundamental aspects of an effective training session it's very likely you'll gain poor posture, injury, aches and pains in areas which should feel free and mobile. If you know how to train correctly and cover your individual aspects i.e faulty mechanics you could live longer as a byproduct of strength training.

Below is a list of many of the things you'll improve with Strength Training and why in just one hour a week, you can change your health and increase your longevity.

1. You’ll keep your brain healthy

One study looked at 970 people living in senior communities who had no evidence of cognitive decline. Researchers put the subjects through a series of strength tests, measuring their upper and lower extremities. Over the next 3.6 years, 15 percent of the subjects developed Alzheimer’s disease. But their risk was strongly determined by where they fell on the strength scale: For every 1 point increase in muscle strength, a subject’s risk of Alzheimer’s dropped by 43 percent. I think this also falls under the category of keeping your mind active, if you are training and using strength as a goal you need to be fully aware of what your body is doing to ensure progression without injury. Plus on a subconscious level your brain is very active during any form of training. There is evidence of this in my clients as I will demonstrate an exercise which requires 1 dominant arm or leg, 9 times out of 10 that person will subconsciously decide their strongest side to perform that exercise. The 1 out 10 simply copies the same side I demonstrated with, very fascinating stuff, the body is very clever in protecting itself.

2. You’ll reduce your risk of future ​weight gain

A low level of muscular fitness was associated with higher odds of gaining at least 22 pounds over the ensuing 20 years, one study found. Yes as you get older it is harder to keep the weight gain off but it's certainly not a reason to neglect training with weights. It's potentially a slower journey for older adults due to recovery and the difference in hormones, but a journey you should never give up on. Fitness takes time and yes it requires a lot of effort, the same for strength training, but if you read the studies and look at the positives then that effort is short lived to what you'll gain 7 days a week.

3. You’ll keep your blood pressure ​under control

In another study, higher levels of muscular strength were associated with a reduced risk of developing high blood pressure among men with prehypertension. You will experience a reduced BP reading with many forms of training, the training shouldn't solely be seen as the only way to reduce BP, diet and regularly movement needs to also be a fundamental factor and sometimes medication. You can't really have one without the other in my opinion, you need to challenge the heart as it is a muscle and it also needs to be trained like any other muscle. So it is very important to keep the heart healthy with regular strength training, if you don't put your heart under stresses like those of strength training then the time you ask it to do that without any training is why Heart attacks happen. Think of it like you hear someone has pulled their muscle from lifting something, the body wasn't conditioned to lifting that object and possibly not strong enough, well that's how you should see the heart.

4. You’ll slash your risk of heart disease

Several studies have shown that the greater your muscular strength, the lower your chance of developing metabolic syndrome — a constellation of health issues including excess abdominal fat, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high cholesterol, all of which are tied to heart disease. And the greater your muscular strength, the lower your levels of inflammatory compounds, which may also help to lower your risk of heart disease. Again having a healthy balanced diet, low sugar, actively trying to keep stress levels down, optimising sleep along with your training will help keep your risk of heart disease down dramatically.

5. You’ll beat back diabetes

Higher muscle mass has been associated with better insulin sensitivity and lower risk of developing diabetes or prediabetes; in a study of 13,644 subjects, those with the lowest percentage of muscle were 63 percent more likely to have diabetes than those with the highest percentage. I've personally seen this happen with 2 clients over the years, it is also a misconception you ave to be fat to have diabetes, I've known people looking very slender and being insulin dependent. The bigger you are the more risk you have to getting Type 1 or 2 but with strength training and regular fitness you'll help keep this risk away, especially the later years in life.

6. You’ll be better poised to battle ​cancer

Breast cancer patients with high muscle mass have a greater chance of surviving the disease than those who have lower muscle mass, according to a study of 3,241 women (median age: 54) with stage 2 or 3 invasive breast cancer. And in a study of men who had undergone a radical prostatectomy to treat prostate cancer, those with the lowest levels of muscle were more likely to see a recurrence of the cancer and more likely to die of the disease. Cancer also grows in a toxic environment, so if you have lots of sugar, stress and poor choice of diet your putting your body in a more unbalanced environment. If you add recreational drugs, alcohol and tobacco in the mix your pushing yourself into even more of an acidic level, this is where cancer grows, if you are more alkaline you've got better chance to combat this. A simple way to know is if you are someone that gets ill a lot, that would suggest your body is more acidic as it then prone to catching things in that toxic state. A lot of my clients say since training they haven't been ill as much, one yesterday in fact said she hasn't been ill since she started and last week her 2 youngest was very ill and she was their cleaning the snot from their noses. It is also important to remember training is also a stress to the body and without optimal recovery your body is being put under more stress, this is why 2-3 days a week I'd personally say is the sweet spot. Anything more is for athletes and competition training. If you wanted to train more than 2-3 days then I'd say go for active recovery days, swimming, cycling, jogging or walking.

7. You’ll stay happier

A study of 3,000 adults ages 54 to 89 found that having a strong grip was inversely associated with symptoms of depression.

Strong, healthy and happy: If that sounds like the future you imagine for yourself, it’s time to make your muscles a top priority. Make sure you’re getting 25 to 30 grams of protein at every meal, and talk to your doctor about starting a muscle-building fitness program.

(some of the above information has been pulled from this article


Karen has been training with myself for a number of months now and during this time we have seen some incredible results. As a direct result of strength training she has been able to walk further without getting out of breath, recovery has improved, her overall strength and fitness. we focussed on the foundations of how Karens body moves with and without resistance then built a program around the areas highlighted to ensure we had a solid foundation to work from. Her body fat has dropped, muscle mass increased and her projected age is currently 51! Karen trains with myself 3 days one week and 2 the next, we spend about 15 minutes warming up and then run through strength and conditioning. Karens strength is focused to being able to squat, deadlift and push weight above her head, her conditioning is focused on multi directional movement, hip mobility and shoulder mobility so she can do her gardening, shopping and walking.

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