More and more in the media we are hearing about the benefits of strength training for people of all ages, men and women, boy and girl, and this is fantastic. The old school thought that the best type of activity for long term health is all aerobic based, nothing but running, step classes etc is thankfully a thing of the past.
Strength training not only has the obvious benefits of getting stronger, creating lean tissue, which we will talk about more, but it has cardiovascular benefits too. Anyone that has worked themselves to a 5 x 5 max of deadlifts or pushed them themselves with a phase of German Volume Training will know that a spiking heart rate, hard breathing, and the benefits that come with it for the cardiovascular system is not just an effect for traditional cardio training.
Strength training, all of course when performed with correct technique, taught by a highly skilled and educated Performance Coach like the Absolute team, is the most efficient and effective form of training for overall benefits that exercise gives you. Time poor? Strength training. Wanting to prevent injury? Strength training. Recovering from an injury? Strength Training. Physique and composition change? Strength training. Long term independence and mobility? Strength Training.
Unfortunately for many the numerous benefits that will be gained from well structured strength training is limited to just a small population. The Australian National Public Health Guide details that everyone should be getting a minimum of 2 x per week strength training, inclusive of bodyweight and all forms of resistance, yet a worrying statistic is that only 9-19% of Australian adults are getting close to this with 80% of Australians doing nothing at all.
Sarcopenia, which is essentially muscle loss that occurs from disease and inactivity, sees us losing a potential of 40% of our muscle cross sectional area between the ages of 20-60yrs old, leading to adults losing 50% of all strength by 90 (1). Given we are all living longer now, this is a scary statistic, we are spending longer with reduced independence and quality of life. Maintaining life long strength training, which starts now, is so incredibly important to your health, as your muscular strength is inversely and independently related to death from all causes, a 3 x greater risk of not dying peacefully of natural causes essentially (2). So just in case that isn’t enough motivation to get yourself into some well structured strength training, here are just a few more reasons. I will stay away from the obvious improved aesthetics and focus more on long term health, often missed in mainstream media.
Muscle and its role in whole body metabolism:
Muscle tissue, and the steady supply of amino acids that it supplies via the blood serves to maintain the protein content and therefore survival of tissue and organs such as the skin, brain, heart and liver and is essential for survival, particularly in periods of fasting or stress (3).
Muscle and its response to critical illness:
The stressed state which the body is under when it is ill, suffering from diseases such as cancer, or traumatic injury, imposes a greater demand for amino acids from muscle protein breakdown (5). Muscle is so important that your ability to heal wounds, recover and survive bad burns, increase life expectancy from AIDs, cancer, septic infections is so intimately linked to the amount of lean tissue you have, needing it to be able to supply the increased demand of amino acids (6,7,8).
Muscle and reducing obesity:
Obesity occurs from a result of energy imbalance, in the most basic explanation, more energy is going in than is going out. The greatest component of your total energy expenditure is your resting energy expenditure (REE), thermic effect of food and that lost in exercise play a small role. The largest variations, or increases in REE come from the amount of lean tissue that you have. The energy release per day from lean tissue can range anywhere from 500kcal in a muscular young man, down to just 120kcal for an elderly women, the difference in lean tissue between these two examples would lead to an increase in fat mass of 47grams per day, which means over 16kg of extra fat gain per year without any consideration of exercise and nutrition.
Muscle and osteoporosis:
Mechanical force on bone is essential for modelling and remodelling, the process which is key to increase the strength and mass of bone. While bodyweight and weight bearing exercises provide a direct mechanical force on bones, the largest voluntary loads on bone are proposed to come from muscle contractions (9). Skeletal mass is positively correlated with bone mineral content, so it is vital that quality strength training, strong muscle contractions, and lean tissue mass is maintained through the life span to reduce the risks of osteoporosis.
This is just scratching the surface on why strength training is so incredibly vital for your long term health and independence. So make sure you are getting your required dosage of loading, planned and specific to your needs, by a highly skilled Performance Coach. This will ensure that you are in peak physical condition and health, not just for summer, but for the long game.
Come in and see as at Absolute, 199 William street, for a smarter approach to your health, injury and performance needs.
Written by Head Performance Coach David Smith
- Rom, Oren et al. “Lifestyle And Sarcopenia – Etiology, Prevention And Treatment”. RMMJ4 (2012): e0024. Web
- Ruiz, J. R et al. “Association Between Muscular Strength And Mortality In Men: Prospective Cohort Study”. BMJjul01 2 (2008): a439-a439. Web.
- Felig P, Owen OE, Wahren J. Amino acid metabolism during prolonged J Clin Invest 1969;48:584 –94.
- Biolo G, Zhang X-J, Wolfe RR. Role of membrane transport in interor- gan amino acid flow between muscle and small intestine. Metabolism 1995;44:719 –24.
- Wolfe, R. The underappreciated role of muscle in health and disease. Am J Clin NutrSeptember 2006 vol. 84 no. 3 475-482
- Zhang X-J, Chinkes DL, Wolfe RR. The flow phase of wound metabo- lism is characterized by stimulated protein synthesis rather than cell proliferation. J Surg Res (in press).
- Pereira CT, Barrow RE, Sterns AM, et al. Age dependent differences in survival after severe burns: a unicentric review of 1674 patients and 179 autopsies over 15 years. J Am Coll Surg 2005 (in press).
- Kadar L, Albertsson M, Arebert J, Landbert T, Mattsson S. The prog- nostic value of body protein in patients with lung cancer. Ann N Y Acad Sci 2000;904:584 –91.
- Frost HM. On our age-related bone loss: Insights from a new paradigm. J Bone Miner Res 1997;12:1–9.