Muscle mass naturally diminishes with age. “If you don’t do anything to replace the lean muscle you lose, you’ll increase the percentage of fat in your body,” says Edward Laskowski, M.D., a physical medicine. Muscle strength peaks in your 20s, and then starts to decline; 5 to7 lbs of muscle are lost every decade beginning at the age of 40 for both men and women. The secret to maintaining strong muscles and a health body in your later years is strength training. In a recent study at Tufts University, arthritis pain was reduced by 43% after a test group of older men and women completed a 16-week training program. Strength training proved to be as effective, if not more so, than medications in relieving pain associated with osteoarthritis; balance, flexibility and rheumatoid arthritis pain were similarly improved.
Overweight individuals are aided by this training; even at rest, muscles consume more calories than other body tissues, and with regular strength training the average metabolic rate increases by 15%. Training programs may also prevent and control prediabetes and diabetes ; in a recent study of Hispanic man and woman , 16 week program produced dramatic improvements in glucose control that are comparable to taking diabetes medication. Strength training builds bone density and lowers the incidence of fractures in osteaperosis patients. Weight training can also lift depression , and improve sleep quality.
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