The Importance of Strength Training or “LIFT HEAVY THINGS”

How often have you heard, “My grandmother fell and broke her hip.”  Often when that happens the muscles have atrophied to a point where the muscles lack the strength to support and/or stabilize an individual.  As we age, it’s no secret that we lose muscle tone each year.  While we don’t have the tone we did in our 20’s, it becomes more important to maintain our strength at any age; not just to look good but for the sake of our health.  This is applicable to both men and women.  For women however, I found a  two good articles in US News and World Report  and Women’s Health  magazine that you should find helpful.

Consequently, following a strength training program helps you develop and maintain lean muscle mass.  This increases your metabolism (not through chronic cardio) to maintain low levels of body fat, increase bone density, and prevent injuries that may be due to weak muscles or muscle imbalances.

However, it does not have to be complicated not take hours in the gym.  An approach of short duration (30 minutes) is fine.  They should be high intensity and conducted a few times per week.  Any more than that is a recipe for fatigue and burnout.  With just 2 focused 30 minute sessions per week, you can stay strong and keep your workouts fresh.

To boil strength training into its simplest form:  Simply lift heavy things. As nature did not invent weights in 5 pound increments, you don’t have to succumb to the same old same old in the gym.  Your body thrives on spontaneous workout habits.  Surprise the muscles; never let them know what’s coming next.  Gains are created when your muscles are challenged beyond what they are used to.  It doesn’t have to be complicated.

Some suggestions:  Suspend the gym for a while.  Find heavy things around the house you can lift and put down.  My Poland spring water jugs are 50 pounds.  I left one in each hand and carry them around the house.  I go into the woods near my home and lift heavy logs; then I put them down.  A high intensity short duration workout can go a long way.

If you do go into the gym, there are a few exercises that I find core to any routine:  lunges, deadlifts, squats, rows, pull ups, pushups, and planks.  Some of these require dumb and bar bells, others simply rely on your own body weight.  While I encourage a much greater variety of heavy lifting try to use kettle bells, ropes, bands, anything that changes the pace.

As a matter of habit, when you see something heavy, lift it.  If you are at a playground and see pull up bars, pull up; as many as you can.  Rest. Repeat.  Keep it simple…and heavy.   To hear the advice of a really muscular guy, click here.

2 Responses to “The Importance of Strength Training or “LIFT HEAVY THINGS””

  1. Dan 06/12/2012 at 4:39 pm #

    The smartest thing any of us can do, is exactly as prescribed above. Do it ealy in life because like anything the longer you put off getting started the harder it is to get motivated. Most people, sad to say figure “falling apart” as we age is par for course. Hard to loose weight, exercise, work our brains past the normal amount we need just to get around…..we fall into the post narassistic pattern of no one cares what I look like, eating healthy is a pain the butt, besides fast food & junk food taste better & what “hot” guy/gal is going to give some old aged schlub a second look whether I fit or fat! Well, we’re less likely to be Arnolds & Cory Eversons than not but that should not deter any of us to try our very best. Oh, & don’t wait for injuries to be your spark of desire like I did. Half a torn right bicep was my catalist when I was staring 48 yrs in the face & not that it was extra motivation to continue, but both biceps torn away from their anchor points in my left arm at 55 cemented my desire to continue. Triceps, ya know. And back surgery….yada yada yada. Point is, what of these injuries would have been lessened if I kept at the lifting thing I started at aged 15, 43 years of that mind set sure trumps 10. P.S. 30 of being a truck driverpounding my back into putty was the reason for that surgery lest you think otherwise. So let’s get to it y’all & Lift Heavy Things! Good Lifting, Dan

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