Beyond slowing the physiological age clock, scientists have demonstrated indisputable evidence that the health benefits of staying physically active outweigh the risks for most adults.
The recommendation of the American College of Sports Medicine is for adults to have a regular exercise program that encompasses cardiorespiratory, resistance, flexibility, and neuro-motor exercise training beyond activities of daily living.
Two major components of physical activity are strength training and aerobic exercise.
“Resistive training or strength training is a key component of overall health and fitness. Although aerobic exercise has enormous health benefits, because it maintains the heart and lungs and improves cardiovascular fitness and endurance, it does not strengthen muscles,” said Dr. Lydia Kaume, nutrition and health education specialist with University of Missouri Extension.
Scientific research shows resistance exercises are safe for women and men of all ages and can preserve and increase muscle mass and bone density.
These exercises use weights and resistance bands. The recommendation is for adults to have resistance exercises two to three times per week for each of the major muscle groups, and neuromotor exercise involving balance, agility, and coordination.
“Flexibility exercises are usually part of the routine as they are crucial to maintaining joint range of movement,” said Kaume.
These recommendations are not one size-fit all according to Kaume. Since individuals vary in their habits, physical function, health status, and goals, they are modifiable.
“Adults are advised to consult their doctor before starting any exercise, but highly encouraged to incorporate all components of physical activity in their daily lives as they are essential in maintaining an individual’s physical, mental and emotional health,” said Kaume.
Benefits of training
Benefits of Regular Strength Training include improving sleep, maintaining a healthy state of mind, improved glucose control, proper maintenance of weight, strengthening of bone, arthritis relief, restoration of balance, and reduction of falls.
“In essence, strength training can be powerful in alleviating signs and symptoms of several chronic illnesses,” said Kaume.
Obesity: Individuals build muscle in weight training providing up to a 15 percent increase in metabolic rate. Muscle unlike fat tissue is active and consumes calories while stored. By comparison, stored fat uses very little energy.
Arthritis: Studies have shown that the potency of strength training in alleviating arthritis related pain is the same as, if not better than, medication.
Diabetes: Consistent strength training can produce dramatic improvements in glucose control that are comparable to taking diabetes medication.
Osteoporosis: Strength training increases bone density and reduces the risk for fractures especially in adults aged 50 and over.
Depression: Improvements seen in depressed individuals after weight training are similar to those of individuals taking anti-depressants. Strength training is associated with improved self-confidence and self-esteem.
Insomnia/sleeping problems: Individuals that strength train enjoy improved sleep quality comparable to treatment with medication but without the side effects or the expense.
Cardiovascular disease: Strength training helps individuals gain aerobic capacity, which is vital for heart health. Moreover, when individuals achieve leaner bodies due to weight training, they reduce their risk for cardiovascular disease.
For more information on nutrition, go online to http://extension.missouri.edu or contact one of the nutrition and health specialists working in the Ozarks: Dr. Lydia Kaume in Barton County, (417) 682-3579; Dr. Pam Duitsman, in Greene County, (417) 881-8909; or Cammie Younger in Texas County, or (417) 967-4545 Christeena Haynes, in Dallas County, (417) 345-7551.