The second edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2018 tells us that we need to do muscle strengthening activities of moderate or greater intensity involving all major muscle groups at least two days per week.
Research studies with the National Institute of Health (NIH) have now shown that those who perform strength training at least two times per week had 46 percent lower odds of dying for any reason compared to those who didn’t participate in strength training. These strength training adults also had 41 percent lower odds of cardiac death and an almost 20 percent lower risk of dying from cancer. And, these adults were more likely to have a normal body weight, do aerobic exercises, and abstain from alcohol and tobacco.
I’ve been focusing my training style around strength training for years now. In my personal trainer opinion, strength training is the foundation that all other activities are built on. We need strength to get up and get moving so we can dance, swim, play with the kids, walk the dog, grocery shop and simply enjoy life.
Here’s a few more reasons why strength training is important (American Council on Exercise, ACE).
- Resistance training with heavier weights or resistance can boost your self confidence. It’s a great feeling to know you have the strength to handle everyday challenges like moving a piece of furniture, carrying heavy shopping bags and lifting heavy laundry baskets.
- Lifting heavier weights helps to stimulate the growth of new brain cells and improve communication between current brain pathways. Lifting that heavier resistance increases the hormone IGF-1 which is related to the production of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor). BDNF production helps to create new brain connections.
- Multi-joint exercises like the leg press, shoulder press, chest press, lat pulldowns, and seated rowing can help to improve muscle coordination. Muscles have to work together to control the high levels of force using multiple joints. Many multi-joint resistance exercises can be done using body weight, machines, resistance bands and ankle weights.
Do you want to improve your health, increase your overall lifespan and improve your overall quality of life? Start adding a strength training routine in your week. Here’s to your great health.
About the author
Jonathan Souder is the fitness director at Manor House, an Acts Retirement-Life Community in Seaford, www.manorhouse.org. Email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.