Why we all need to lift weights
“Muscle is the organ of longevity,” Dr. Gabrielle Lyon.
At every age, whether we are 20, 40, 60 or 80, muscle carries out the same function, acting as our body’s shock absorbers, helping us to stay strong, reducing the risk of fractures if we fall, as well as providing the strength to help us get up again! Of course, as we age, if we don’t act our muscles will start to deteriorate, so to hold onto a higher quality of life, maintaining as much muscle as possible is essential.
The 2 factors directly related to muscle that can impact on our quality of life as we age are:
- the loss of muscle cells
- the loss of strength
Both of which can be cured by weightlifting, for men and women.
Lifting weights is the easiest way to place a muscle under load, so it can become bigger and stronger over time. However, the muscle itself is not the only thing that is impacted; joints, bones, ligaments and the central nervous system are also being developed, contributing to vital maintenance as we age.
It is important to remember that, as with many exercises, lifting weights requires developing skillsets. Executing a deadlift demands developing the skill of deadlifting, which again, for the uninitiated can assist in helping maintain optimal cognitive function as we age.
What are the best exercises?
The foundation of any weight training program should be the main compound movements. No matter our age, we should aim to execute a deadlift, squat, push, pull and lunge. Multi joint movements that develop many muscle groups at once, they are also the exercises that enable the development of strength.
Broader health benefits
Muscle is the body’s biggest storage site of glycogen, the form in which we store glucose. As a result, the health benefits linked to maintaining muscle can extend to assisting in decreasing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. More muscle means more insulin receptor sites, which can help maintain a healthier level of insulin sensitivity. This can further contribute to better long-term weight management and health, contributing to a reduction in the risk of obesity and associated chronic diseases such as cancer, CVD or CHD.
Muscle is so much more important than just their shape and aesthetics, although this is a bonus. Muscle maintenance as we age can determine so much more; how healthy you are and how well you age. If you are not pumping iron introduce weightlifting for a healthier life.
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