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Ageing and the benefits of strength training

You’re probably aware of this fact, but to help jog your memory and help you explain to friends why you strength train..

We age, it’s inevitable.

As ageing occurs, controlling and coordinating many of our body’s activities becomes more difficult. We essentially have to work harder to maintain good health and vitality.

Hormones are the chemical messengers of the body that function to control and coordinate many of the body’s activities. Muscle development and immune functions are among them.

Unfortunately, after the age of 35, hormones are not excluded from the changes and decline is seen throughout the ageing body. Lower levels of hormone production precede visual changes.

Ultimately, the changes in hormones accompany the changes in bone and muscle strength as well as the other way.

The ideal exercise regime for maintaining or promoting hormone, bone, and muscle health is strength training (see position statements + plenty of research articles from Exercise&Sports Science Australia/American College of Sport Medicine if you need more info).

Strength training provides the mechanical stress or “load” that stimulates hormonal changes, and development of muscle and bone strength. It also provides other benefits, such as improved balance and coordination.

Two important concerns for strength training are intensity and recovery. A minimum of two sessions a week for 30 minutes beginning at 70 per cent of the one repetition maximum (1RM) and building to 85 per cent 1RM would be appropriate.

Preventive measures for bone and hormone loss, maintaining a physically active, healthy lifestyle and modification of risk factors for falls will yield benefits to overall health.

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