Learn Resistance Training, A Fundamental Health Tool Necessary To Stay Healthy As well As To Complement The Cure For Many Types Of Disease.
I have mentioned in previous posts of my blog that in a protocol for health maintenance and/or recovery, exercise, in general, must be included as one of the many necessary lifestyle changes which have to be considered as a component of our bag of natural remedies and cures for many types of disease.
And Remember: It’s really never too late to begin!
Exercise becomes really paramount once you’re above your 50s. Even if you start exercising at this time, you will gain many health benefits. And even if you are not into a exercise program, just simply move around a lot and avoid sitting as much as possible.
In one study, seniors between the ages of 60 and 80 who didn’t even exercise formally, but rather got their activity in the form of walking, gardening, and moving about each day had significant brain advantages compared to their more sedentary peers. They showed higher levels of brain oxygenation and healthier patterns of brain activity, particularly in the hippocampus and in connecting different brain regions together.
If you’re fit at 40 or 50, you’re much more likely to be healthy into your 70s and 80s. But the benefits of starting an exercise program are simply immense, even if you do so in mid or late life.
Warning: Exercise But Do Not Believe That Just Organized-exercise Movement Is Enough! Continuous Activity, Even In Not-Organized-Exercise-Movement Is Essential
In fact, the non-organized-exercise movement is one of the most important keys to a long healthy life. Studies have shown that just being engaged in a few weekly hours in vigorous organized-exercise movement cannot counteract the ill effects of multiple hours of sitting.
In a previous post, we have seen the numerous beneficial effects of walking in its various form, as a mean to increase physical activity which the body needs to stay healthy and specifically improve heart health, delay aging, lower blood pressure and even prevent cancer.
But Walking is not the only type of exercise your body needs. For a complete program for optimal health, you also need to build muscle mass, and resistance training building muscle reduces the losses normally and inevitably experienced with aging. You must consider also resistance training as part of the bag of natural remedies for all diseases. An indispensable Health Tool. We can use it as a means to increase our physical activity and reap the enormous benefits that come with it.
Why you need Resistance Training?
Without weight training, your muscles will atrophy and lose mass. Age-related loss of muscle mass ( sarcopenia), will cause you to lose about 15 percent of your muscle mass between your 30s and your 80s if you do not do anything about it.
In addition to maintaining your muscle mass, with strength training, you can build bone density, decrease your risk of falls, get relief from joint pain, and even improve blood sugar control.
Strength training also increases your body’s production of growth factors, which are responsible for cellular growth, proliferation, and differentiation which also promote the growth, differentiation, and survival of neurons which helps explain why working your muscles also benefits your brain and helps prevent dementia
Once you pass age 50 your sex hormones (testosterone for men and estrogen for women) levels will drop causing your muscle mass to diminish and be replaced with fat that makes you look all flabby.
In fact, inactivity at an adult age causes a 3% to 8% loss of muscle mass per decade. This damage does not com alone, it is accompanied by a reduction of the resting metabolic rate and fat accumulation.Resistance training will benefit your general physical performance, movement control, walking speed,
Having More Muscle Mass Gives You Very Practical Advantages.
Muscle allows you to keep doing the things you love to do (gardening, fishing, bowling, walking, playing with your grandkids, hobbying, and fundamentally, maintaining your functional independence within old age). And, according to recent studies, resistance/weight training improve cognitive abilities, and self-esteem.
By decreasing visceral fat, increasing the density of glucose transport, and improving insulin sensitivity, resistance training may help in the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes. Besides you need muscle tissue because it is very active and thanks to its high-energy requirements the more muscle you have the more calories you can consume without gaining weight.
Resistance training may enhance cardiovascular health by reducing resting blood pressure, decreasing low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides, and increasing high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
And that’s not all (ande especially important for women who are more often subject to osteoporosis problem), resistance training may promote bone development. Studies have shown that a 1% to 3% increase in bone mineral density is caused by resistance training.
For the plague of arthritis and fibromyalgia resistance training has been shown to reverse specific aging factors in skeletal muscle.
So it is important to include strength training in your daily activity schedule.
Think that with just ten weeks of properly done resistance training you may increase your lean weight by 1.4 kg, your metabolic rate by 7%, and reduce your fat by 1.8 kg.
First of all, you need to have a good WEIGHT TRAINING TOOL in your home which allows you to perform all the basic exercises for Resistance Training.
Types Of Resistance Training Tools
There are basically three types of resistance training tools which are best fitted for home use.
But first, let me just mention this particular type of equipment which does not use traditional plate weights but uses your body as a weight to train. It is called Weider Ultimate Body Works.
I know it well and like it very much because I used it to help assist the physical recovery of injured people when I was doing voluntary work in a center for rehabilitation therapy.
It is really enjoyable to use, flexible, it can work for all major muscle groups, and you can even fold it and hide under your bed if you have space floor availability restriction.
There are a couple of manufacturers who offer this kind of equipment at a higher price then Weider but they are much sturdier.
One of the advantages of this type of equipment is that it fits in a small space.
This machine too belongs to the Home Gym Machines category where you can see an infinity of other Home Gym models.
First Type of Resistance Training Tool. Home Gyms.
I do not like much Home Gym Machines, I find they allow for rather limited applications (you generally can perform well only 3-4 exercises, neglect key core and stabilization muscles and I think they are too expensive.
BUT THEY HOME GYMS ARE ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY IF YOU ARE A BEGINNER.
Home gyms are easy to use. They have a picture demonstrating its use which makes them easy to use, you do not need to hire a personal trainer to figure them out.
Home Gyms allow for a correct a and safe execution of the exercises.
For beginners, for people with a really low level of fitness, for people recovering from an injury, machines are the tool to get their strength up quickly and safely. Since machines isolate it may also be easier to work around certain injuries. They are an easy way to rehab an injury if you don’t have a physical therapist or t.rainer to work with you
And this Home Gym model Powerline P1LPX Home Gym With Leg Press from BODY SOLID, is a good sturdy machine which has an additional leg training station.
The independent leg training station allows you to perform squats -an important type of exercise, from a recumbent position, thus avoiding to put weight on your column if you have problems there.
Second Type Of Resistance Training Tool.
And Most Convenient Piece Of Equipment For Resistance Training. Olympic Benches
The machine I consider best suited for home training is the classic bench, Olympic size, which allows you to perform all the basic exercises like bench presses, lat pull downs, lying down leg curls, seated leg extensions, seated arm curls.
Squats will be performed the classic way, in a free form which is the best way to do them.
I mean a machine type this Phoenix 99226 Power Pro Olympic Bench.
With Heavy-duty 3-inch Steel Uprights, Adjustable Uprights, Seat Back which Includes decline, is the best for Fitness and Exercise
Choose a sturdy machine, and take into account also your space availability because this machine requires a wide floor space .
Third Type Of Resistance Training Tool. Folding Benches, A Minimal Equipment.
If you lack adequate space availability to host a machine of the second type. you can opt for a simple folding bench like this CAP Barbell Memory Foam FID Training Bench,
which features only an incline/decline seat back, so you can’t do too much with it, but it is the smallest machine you must have at least.
There are many other types of folding benches, from plain basic like this one to more elaborate types which can include an Arm Curl, Flies tool and Leg Extension Attachment.
This type of benches let you train using only dumbells.
Other models of folding benches can be seen here
With such minimal equipment, we are getting into what I consider Free-Weight Training.
The Pros Of Free-Weight Training.
- Allows you to use full range of motion – You have complete freedom to move around, this allows your body to do what it is naturally built to do, move.
- Place a greater demand on stabilizing muscles – Will help to keep your joints healthy if done properly
- Allow for endless variation – You can do hundreds of different exercise variations.
- Less expensive – Free weights are the way to go if you don’t have access to a gym since they are much less expensive than machines.
- Takes some skill to learn proper technique – Free weight exercises have a higher learning curve than machines and you may need someone to show you proper technique. Having a trainer show you or read a book or watch videos on weight training. Take your time to learn and avoid creating bad habits by copying others that have bad form.
- Greater risk of injury when not done properly – When using bad form it is easy to move a body part or joint out of proper alignment and tweak something. This can cause injury so make sure you know what you are doing and always use the appropriate weight. Always perform your exercise correctly without forcing to lift more than you can.
- Need a spotter to lift the heavy weight on squat or bench press exercises – These exercises are difficult to improve on if you don’t have a training partner.
How To Train
For how you have to train just keep reading till the end of this page.
In the meantime do not make the mistake to listen to the advises of the so called fitness gurus and trainers that you find on any of the specialized bodybuilding magazines.
The champions training they propose as good for you too in reality are good only for people who gulp steroids over steroids, have rare genetically ideal physiques (which I and most of you do not have) and, as a bonus, after a few years have irreversible heart, liver and kidney problems.
You train because you want to stay healthy or recover from sickness, not to get sick
How Do You Use Weight Training To Build Muscle Mass?
Frequency Of Workouts
Training has to be done bi-weekly High-Intensity Interval Training sessions. Just two days per week, and not more than that, with frequent rest periods like one week off of every three/four weeks of workouts, and keeping every workout not longer than 1 hour.
Bear in mind that our muscles need an average 7-9 days rest time (or longer if you are particularly weak, too sick to move) to recover from the fatigue between workouts, to regenerate your lost energy. It is imperative that you rest enough otherwise your muscle mass will waste instead of augmenting and you will feel sick and tired.
So do not copy the “bodybuilding magazines champion workouts” which requires you to hit the Gym 3-5 days per week, perform 5-7 sets per exercise, 10-12 reps per set, and 12–20 exercises per session and similar utter nonsense. This will kill you very quickly!!!.
Duration Of A Workout
Workout duration must be kept short, generally between 45 and 90 min because the body under stress (both physical and physiological) produces cortisol which metabolizes (will damage) your muscular structure. Cortisol emission gets very high just after 90 min of intense effort.
The other hormone released during training is the Testosterone, but this is a very good thing because testosterone is an important cofactor for muscular growth and general health.
To keep your workout within a 45 -90 min time, thus preventing cortisol levels to rise excessively, and promoting the increase of testosterone, the workout organization has to be constructed on a very few basic exercises where the muscular groups are appropriately chosen to avoid using a group trained less than 7-9 days before.
Intensity Of A Workout
Because you have a short time at our disposal for a workout, it has to be structured on very few basic compound exercises (squats, deadlifts, pulls, bench presses and military presses or overhead presses) which will allow the use of reasonably heavy loads thus causing a much greater muscles stress then what isolation exercises (leg extension, calf raises, and most cable and dumbbells exercises) will do.
Forget the advice of the bodybuilding magazines to perform any possible exercises in isolations for any single muscle as there are in your body. That is silly, unuseful, and detrimental to your health.
You will train with 2 exercises max (one is good too). for chest, back, shoulders and legs and 1 exercise for biceps, triceps, calves, and abdominals (abs).
For each exercise perform just two Sets of 12 Reps each, one set of warm up and one of fatigue.
For the last set -the fatigue one, you will use the weight load which allows you to do just 12 reps and no more, and for the first set -the warm up one, you will use a weight load equal to max 30-40% of the weight of the second set.
The need to exhaust the muscles requires a proper combination of these compound exercises. For instance, because squats and deadlifts are very heavy exercises, they have to be put in separate workouts to allow the body the possibility to a better recovery of energy.
And because the small muscles (biceps, triceps, and calves) get exhausted quicker than muscular groups, their involvement and position in the training have to properly combined.
- bent-over rows (a compound exercise) will also fatigue the biceps very much therefore afterward biceps will need less work to be pumped to the right point.
- bench press ( a compound exercise) does not stress enough biceps therefore if you exercise them after the bench press they will need more work.
Slow Weight Movement For Increased Intensity
You will benefit from super-slow weight training at any age, but more definitely if you’re middle-aged or older. By slowing your movements down, your weight-training session will turn even more into the high-intensity type exercise that you need.
As it has been said, compound movements are movements that require the coordination of several muscle groups — for example squats, chest presses and compound rows. Here is my version of the technique.
- Begin by lifting the weight as slowly and gradually as you can. Do this with a four-second positive (to bring the weight up) and a four-second negative (to lower it). When pushing, stop about 10 to 15 degrees before your limb is fully straightened; smoothly reverse direction.
- Slowly lower the weight back down to the slow count of four.
- Repeat until exhaustion, which should be around 10 to 12 reps. Once you reach exhaustion, don’t try to heave or jerk the weight to get one last repetition in. Instead, just keep trying to produce the movement, even if it’s not “going” anywhere, for another five seconds or so. If you’re using the appropriate amount of weight or resistance, you’ll be able to perform eight to 12 reps.
- Rest for 2-3 minutes
- Switch to the next exercise for the next target muscle group and repeat the first steps.
The Weekly Exercise Program
As far as body parts involved and the number of exercises used concerned, it will basically be like this:
day 1 day2
legs: 2 exs. back 2 els
shoulders 2 exs. biceps 1 ex
day 1 day2
chest 2 exs legs: 2 exs.
triceps: 1 ex shoulders 2 exs.
And so on, on rotation.
Supplementation and Strength Training
It seems as if vitamin D supplementation combined with resistance training may help decrease your waist-to-hip ratio – a measurement that is far better at determining your risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease than body mass index (BMI).
The study, published in the journal Clinical Nutrition, found that Vitamin D and strength training is a powerful combination to reduce dangerous visceral fat. The study included 23 overweight and obese participants, all of whom completed 12 weeks of resistance training. Half of them also received 4,000 IU’s of vitamin D, while the other half got a placebo.
According to the authors:
“The results of the current study demonstrated that vitamin D supplementation improved muscular power in healthy overweight and obese individuals within four weeks and that elevated vitamin D status was associated with greater losses in waist circumference, with no additional benefits in lean mass accumulation, muscular strength, or glucose tolerance during participation in a 12-week resistance exercise training program.
The current results support previous findings that indicate a relationship between vitamin D status and waist circumference rather than fat mass. The inverse relationship with waist circumference is particularly important as abdominal fat has been implicated as an important factor in the development of Type 2 diabetes…
Waist circumference is also an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Therefore, the greater decrease in waist circumference associated with higher vitamin D intake represents a potential reduction in risk for metabolic disease and cardiovascular risk.”
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments.
Until next time.