Top 10 Reasons to Strength Train…

As the years go by, most of us notice changes in our energy levels, and we don’t recover quite as quickly after our workouts. The fact is, your body naturally reaches a peak of vitality in your twenties and then begins a long and, at first, very gradual decline. Muscle mass shrinks, bone density declines—and with them strength, endurance, balance, reaction time, and mental clarity.

Sometimes it is hard for me to believe I’m in my 60s, because I enjoy life more than ever and I feel great. What is my secret to healthy living, boundless energy, and successful weight control? Muscle. In fact, the backbone of your exercise program as you age should be maintaining and feeding your muscle. Fueling your muscle cells through nutrition and exercise helps you achieve an ideal weight and optimum fitness level.

So if you want to live a longer life, keep reading, and I’ll share 10 serious (and sometimes comical) reasons why strength training can help expand your life.

10. The last time you tried to open a jar of pickles, you buckled down and used all your mite but gave up! Why? Because, you’re losing it, baby

…Muscle mass that is, my friend. As we get older we all experience a scary little process I call “The Great Decline.” Every decade we lose muscle mass, and as we age, the percentage of loss just keeps accelerating. By age 60, the average person will have forfeited one-third of his/her muscle mass. The good news:  you can reverse it with resistance training. There’s no age limit on our ability to add muscle and stop “The Great Decline.”

9. Because just looking at a brownie adds an extra pound!

But remember, a pound of muscle burns 35 to 50 calories a day, just by sitting there. A pound of fat? Burns about 3 to 5 calories a day. You decide: muscle or fat?

8. Do you incorporate calcium into your diet with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s?

Bone up! In our 30’s, bone mass generally reaches its maximum level of growth. Then, in our 40’s, it starts to decline and our bone mass starts gradually decreasing. Once again, dumbbells save the day. Strength training maintains or even increases bone mass as we age.

7. Last time you slipped in the shower, you almost reenacted the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” commercial.

Poor balance and lack of muscular strength can result in falls, leading to fractures and broken bones. Strengthening exercises increase flexibility and balance – so you can stay on your toes.

6. Heart disease NOT “for men only.”

Lean, fit bodies have a lower rate of heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends strength training as a way to reduce your risk of heart disease – it helps you lose visceral fat (fat around the abdomen that surrounds the body’s internal organs) — the most dangerous type when it comes to cardiovascular health. Heart disease is the #1 killer among women.

5. The idea of giving a piggy-back ride to a child is as horrifying as the latest “Saw” sequel.

If you have back pain or posture problems the best non-surgical alternative for remedying this is strength training. A strong core supports your lower back and protects you from injury. And, strong back muscles contribute to good posture. The bonus: good posture naturally makes your abdomen look flatter.

4. Bladder-control issues bring back painful schoolyard point-and-laugh memories

Muscular agility is proven to help prevent incontinence.  Moving on.

3. Psssst . . . There are wild rumors going around that sex can be ENJOYABLE.

But you didn’t hear it from me. Resistance training is a must when it comes to reshaping your body, targeting “trouble spots,” and transforming your figure into a younger, fitter, and yes, sexier you. Not only does it help you improve your state of mind and ensure that you look terrific in a bathing suit . . . but building muscle actually improves sexual function.  (Before you run away from the computer to pick up your dumbbells, hang tight.  We’re almost finished here.)

2. Lifting a bag of groceries doesn’t have to be your greatest achievement of the day.

Let’s aim a little higher with our goals, shall we? Nothing trains your body to perform functional movement for everyday living (bending, twisting, lifting, and reaching) like strength training.

1. Strength train because I said so!

OK, all jokes aside, do it because you need to start building muscle now – for all the reasons I just mentioned, and, because it will improve your coordination, agility and balance. Do it because muscle is about staying active and being empowered – from the board-room to the bedroom. Do it because muscle revolutionizes your metabolism, transforms your body from the inside out, and is our best bet for reversing the aging process. In short, do it because muscle is about all the things we associate with youth – and being strong is the new thin!