Friday, December 30, 2011

Why You Should Be Doing Strength Training and Cardio

As 2011 comes to a close I have been looking back on some of my strength training sessions as well as the interval training I have been doing on the cardio side. We have a tendency to judge if exercise is working by what the bathroom scale is reading. But that should not be the case. With each bout of exercise, we are improving many aspects of our physiology that will not be visible to the naked eye. For example:

Strength Training:
  • Building muscle mass can increase metabolism by 15% - so if your looking to rev up that slow metabolism and become or stay functional as you age - you need to be strength training at least a few times each week.
  • Prevents Sarcopenia - which is the loss of muscle mass as you age - you can lose up to 10% or more of your muscle per decade after age 50.
  • Plays a role in disease prevention - like type 2 dabetes for example.
  • Improves the way your body moves resulting in better balance and less falls as you age (you can reduce your risk for falling by 40%).
  • Spares the loss of muscle during weight loss (Donnelly et al., 2003)
  • Will offset bone loss as you age - women can expect to lose 1% of their bone mass after age 35 (and this increases following menopause) - see Stong Women, Stong Bones
Cardiovascular Exercise:
  • Aerobic exercise will improve your mood by decreasing stress and anxiety levels - read Exercise for Mood and Anxiety by Michael Otto, Phd and Jasper Smits, PhD
  • Cardio exercise like jogging, hiking, jump roping etc will "load" your bones in your lower extremity and make them stronger.
  • Makes your heart stronger, lowers your resting heart rate and enables your body to deliver oxygen more efficiently to your working muscles.
  • The American College of Sports Medicine states that higher levels of cardiovascular fitness are associated with approximately a 50% reduction in disease risk.

Donnelly, J.E., Jakicic, J.M., Pronk, N., Smith, B.K., Kirk, E.P., Jacobsen, D.J., Washburn, R. “Is Resistance Training Effective for Weight Management?” Evidence-Based Preventive Medicine. 2003; 1(1): 21-29.

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