To maintain your physical capacity, you must make a lifestyle choice to include resistance training on a regular basis. Unfortunately, physical capacity and muscle strength decrease dramatically with age in adults who do not engage in resistance training. This type of training results in stronger muscles and therefore an increased capacity for force production, which is not achievable with solely aerobic-based training.
Because muscles function as the engine of your body, they must be used regularly to avoid disuse atrophy (i.e., a reduction in muscle size) and age-related declines in physical performance. You don’t need to be a competitive athlete to benefit from strength training; it is equally important from a health and fitness perspective. Also Read: What is Cardio? Complete 101 of Cardio
Benefits of Resistance Training
The benefits of resistance training include favorable changes in body composition, metabolic health, and quality of life. Resistance training exercises can increase lean muscle mass, reduce body fat, fortify bone, lower blood pressure, improve blood lipid and cholesterol levels, and enhance your body’s ability to use glucose. These benefits can optimize your day-to-day functioning while limiting the development of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis. Of paramount importance, regular participation in a such training program can help adults preserve their muscle health to maintain independent physical functioning with advancing age.
Resistance Training Terminology
Following are definitions of some common terms used in the design of a resistance training workout:
- Atrophy — A reduction in muscle fiber size.
- Concentric — A type of muscle action that occurs when the muscle shortens.
- Eccentric — A type of muscle action that occurs when the muscle lengthens.
- Hypertrophy — An enlargement in muscle fiber size.
- Muscular endurance — The ability to repeat or maintain muscle contraction.
- Muscular strength — The ability to exert maximal force in a single effort.
- Repetition — One complete movement of an exercise.
- Repetition maximum (RM) — The maximum amount of weight that can be lifted for a predetermined number of repetitions with proper exercise technique.
- Set — A group of repetitions performed without stopping.
- Spotter — A training partner or fitness professional who can provide assistance in case of a failed repetition.
Things You Should Know
Skeletal muscle represents about 40 percent of one’s total body weight and influences a variety of physiological processes and disease risk factors. The increase in muscle tissue that results from resistance exercise is accompanied by an increase in resting metabolic rate; the decrease in muscle tissue that results from a sedentary lifestyle is accompanied by a decrease in resting metabolic rate. Muscle mass declines about 5 percent each decade after age 30, and this loss can reach 10 percent per decade after age 50. This gradual decrease in muscle mass and metabolism is associated with the gradual increase in body fat that typically occurs with age. Calories that were previously used by muscle tissue (now smaller as a result of disuse) are stored as fat.
Resistance Training For Fat Loss
On the other hand, resistance training raises resting metabolic rate and results in more calories burned on a daily basis which results in fat loss. In theory, if you resistance train and gain 2 pounds (~1 kg) of muscle mass, your resting metabolic rate should increase by about 20 calories per day. Thus, performing resistance training throughout your life can help you recharge your metabolism, facilitate physical function, and maintain your health. In addition to the effect of muscle on metabolism, another benefit of regular resistance training is an increase in bone mineral density that may reduce the risk of osteoporosis. On top of the direct effect of strength-building (and weight-bearing) exercises on bone, the act of muscles pulling on bones during resistance exercises may also be a potent stimulus for new bone formation in certain people. Also Read: How To Determine Your Calorie Intake Like A Pro!
This potential benefit is of particular importance to women who are at increased risk of functional limitations as a result of age-related losses of bone mass. Strong muscles serve as shock absorbents and balancing agents that help dissipate the repetitive landing forces from weight-bearing activities for active people and also reduce the risk of falling in older adults. As such, a resistance training program that requires agility and balance may be the most effective way to enhance movement control and avoid injury. Moreover, strength-building activities are particularly important for decreasing physical discomfort associated with low back pain, which is a growing health care concern.
Regular participation in resistance training activities that are consistent with your needs, goals, and abilities can improve muscle function, enhance quality of life, and lower the risk of premature all-cause mortality. The health and fitness benefits are clear. You can also realize benefits linked to personal appearance. Firm, toned muscles are possible with regular resistance training. Whether you are seeking to improve in recreational or sport activities or just to look and feel better, resistance training should be part of your fitness program.