Weight Lifting

Written by PathologyPrevention
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   A beginner's strength-building workout takes as little as 20 minutes, and you won't need to grunt, strain, or sweat like a cartoon bodybuilder, either. The key is developing a well-rounded program, performing the exercises with good form, and being consistent. You will experience noticeable gains in strength within four to eight weeks.

   Buying your own equipment is one option. Sets of basic introductory-weight dumbbells cost $50-$100. Health clubs offer the most equipment choices, but of course, you have to pay monthly fees. Books and videos can help you learn some basic moves and how to start developing a routine. Many senior centers and adult education programs offer strength training classes, as well. However you start, go slow so you don't injure yourself. Discuss your new exercise plan with your Health Guardian and explain the level of workout you expect to achieve. Mild to moderate muscle soreness between workouts is normal, but back off if it persists more than a few days.

   Some people consider weightlifting to be a cure for much of what ails us. It may not be the answer to every health crisis, but there's no doubt that it can benefit the body and mind in many ways. Some of the physical effects are obvious: Weightlifting can – among other things — boost cardiovascular health and bone strength (because it's a weight-bearing exercise), as well as improve balance and flexibility. But there’s evidence it does much more.

   Having more muscle turns your body into a fat-burning machine. Building muscle mass helps your body burn fat more efficiently at rest. You just don't develop muscle through cardio the way you do when you are doing strength training. In other words, the more muscle mass you develop through bodyweight exercises or by using weights and other resistance equipment, the more calories and fat you are burning even when you're just sitting around watching Netflix or glued to your desk chair. (The amount of calories you burn at rest is referred to as your basal metabolic rate, or BMR.)

   Want to stay active and injury-free all throughout your life? Weight training is an essential Rx. A growing body of research shows doing weight-bearing exercise can help prevent bone loss (or potentially even build bone), and in turn, reduce your risk of osteoporosis and possible fractures down the line. In a way, you're really offsetting aging.

   Resistance training is a natural remedy for sleep issues. A study found that elderly people who practiced moderate-intensity resistance training for 12 weeks had better sleep quality compared to older folks who stayed sedentary over a six-month period. What's more, you may notice you have better energy throughout your day when you take up weight training.

   Building up muscle strength may lead to better brain function. In fact, research has shown that starting resistance training may help older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and improve cognitive function over time. A study divided 100 older men and women with MCI into two groups. One group was assigned to do resistance exercises twice a week for six weeks, while the other was instructed to perform seated stretching and calisthenics instead. The folks who built muscle by strength training also built their brains: They performed better on cognitive tests than the stretching group, and scans showed growth in specific areas of their brains linked to mental benefits. Note: If you are under the care of a Physician, please check with them before starting any exercise regiment. 

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