Why and how strength training combats ageing and improves health after your mid 20’s:
It is scientifically proven that as we age we lose: bone strength, muscle mass and strength, and produce less hormones. However, if the right methodology is applied we can significantly slow this process.
The American College of Sports Medicine states: the inclusion of regular strength training sessions play an important role in delaying and reducing age + inactivity related losses.
Weak bones, osteopenia (low bone mass), and porous bones are all terms to characterize a condition known as osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition that normally begins with unnoticed decreases in bone mass leading to structural deterioration and increased susceptibility to fractures of the hip, spine and wrist (but not limited to these regions). Symptoms usually occur earlier in women (40+) than men (65+) and progress more quickly following menopause and subsequent drops in estrogen production. This is not to say that men are not also at high risk of this condition.
Exercise studies have repeatedly shown that strength training increases bone mass.
Decreases in muscle size and functional strength begin after around age 25. These decreases continue unabated at a rate of 4-5% per decade to the end of life unless action is taken to combat this decline.
Routinely undertaking correctly prescribed strength training will result in gains of strength and muscle size regardless of gender or age.
Hormones are chemical messengers that function to control and coordinate body activities – such as muscle development, growth, and immune function. Hormone production also decreases as we age. Lower levels of growth promoting hormone production precede changes in appearance (increases in fatty tissue and decreases in muscle tone).
Strength training that provides a mechanical stress or load to the body stimulates hormone production.
The ideal exercise regime for maintaining or promoting bone, muscle and hormone health is strength training. Strength training also provides other benefits, such as improved balance, coordination, flexibility and mobility.
How should you approach it?
Intensity and recovery when strength training are very important. Ideally you should undertake 2 sessions /week for 30-45min/session beginning @ 70% of your 1 repetition maximum for the prescribed exercise. Recovery between these session is paramount if you are to progress.
Make sure you have regular health checks and training program assessments to ensure correct prescription, technique and efficacy of the strength program.
By undertaking preventative measures for the inevitable bone, muscle and hormone loss as the years roll by, you will reap great benefits to not just overall health and wellness, but also the life you can live!