Strength training: Get stronger, leaner, healthier

October 15th, 2019 by Debbie Martilotta

Want to reduce body fat, increase lean muscle mass and burn calories more efficiently? Strength training to the rescue! Strength training is a key component of overall health and fitness for everyone.

Use it or lose it

Lean muscle mass naturally diminishes with age.

You’ll increase the percentage of fat in your body if you don’t do anything to replace the lean muscle you lose over time. Strength training can help you preserve and enhance your muscle mass at any age.

Strength training may also help you:

  • Develop strong bones. By stressing your bones, strength training can increase bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Manage your weight. Strength training can help you manage or lose weight, and it can increase your metabolism to help you burn more calories.
  • Enhance your quality of life Strength training may enhance your quality of life and improve your ability to do everyday activities. Building muscle also can contribute to better balance and may reduce your risk of falls. This can help you maintain independence as you age.
  • Manage chronic conditions. Strength training can reduce the signs and symptoms of many chronic conditions, such as arthritis, back pain, obesity, heart disease, depression, and diabetes.
  • Sharpen your thinking skills. Some research suggests that regular strength training and aerobic exercise may help improve thinking and learning skills for older adults.

Consider the options

Strength training can be done at home or in the gym. Common choices include:

  • Bodyweight. You can do many exercises with little or no equipment. Try pushups, pullups, planks and leg squats.
  • Resistance tubing. Resistance tubing is an inexpensive, lightweight tubing that provides resistance when stretched. You can choose from many types of resistance tubes in nearly any sporting goods store.
  • Free weights. Barbells and dumbbells are classic strength training tools. If you don’t have weights at home, you can use soup cans.
  • Weight machines. Most fitness centers offer various resistance machines. You can invest in weight machines for use at home, too.

Getting started

If you have a chronic condition, or if you’re older than age 40 and you haven’t been active recently, check with your doctor before beginning a strength training or aerobic fitness program.

Before beginning strength training, consider warming up with brisk walking or another aerobic activity for five or 10 minutes. Cold muscles are more prone to injury than are warm muscles.

Choose a weight or resistance level heavy enough to tire your muscles after about 12 to 15 repetitions. When you can easily do more repetitions of a certain exercise, gradually increase the weight or resistance.

Research shows that a single set of 12 to 15 repetitions with the proper weight can build muscle efficiently in most people and can be as effective as three sets of the same exercise.

To give your muscles time to recover, rest one full day between exercising each specific muscle group.

Also, be careful to listen to your body. If a strength training exercise causes pain, stop the exercise. Consider trying a lower weight or trying it again in a few days.

It’s important to use proper technique in strength training to avoid injuries. If you’re new to weight training, work with a trainer or other fitness specialist to learn the correct form and technique. Remember to breathe as you strength train.

When to expect results

You don’t need to spend hours a day lifting weights to benefit from strength training. You can see significant improvement in your strength with just two or three 20- or 30-minute weight training sessions a week.

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends incorporating strength training exercises for all major muscle groups into a fitness routine at least two times a week.

As you incorporate strength training exercises into your fitness routine, you may notice an improvement in your strength over time. As your muscle mass increases, you’ll likely be able to lift weight more easily and for longer periods of time. If you keep it up, you can continue to increase your strength, even if you’re not in shape when you begin.

By Mayo Clinic Staff


5 Important Facts About Sarcopenia

March 11th, 2019 by Debbie Martilotta

Sarcopenia is a relatively new term for the most insidious health crisis in the world. Sarcopenia is a disease that impacts all of us as we age. And there is only one known way to prevent it and treat it.

Here are the 5 most important things you need to know about Sarcopenia:

  1. Sarcopenia is the loss of skeletal muscle mass due to aging
    The functions of skeletal muscle include control of movement and posture; regulation of metabolism; storage of energy; acting as a primary source of amino acids for the brain and immune system; and acting as a substrate for malnutrition/starvation, injury/wound healing, and disease. Maintaining skeletal mass is critical not only for remaining physically independent but also for survival.
  2. Sarcopenia affects half of all older adults
    More than 18 million Americans suffer from sarcopenia. One in three adults over 60 have the disease, and that number increases to over 50 percent by the time they reach age 80.
  3. Muscle loss from Sarcopenia begins in our 30s
    Beginning in our 30s, every single human being on earth develops sarcopenia. Every year we get weaker and weaker unless we proactively work against the muscle loss. The erosion of strength accelerates in our 50s and continue to increase as we move into our 60s. By our mid-70s, there is an exponential increase in the loss of lean tissue.
  4. Sarcopenia can cause muscle weakness, frailty, and loss of independence
    The loss of strength that accompanies sarcopenia will dramatically impact your physical health. This loss of strength makes it hard to recover is we lose our balance. As we become weaker, we become more cautious and less physically active. When we are less active, we are weaker. The downward spiral continues.
  5. Strength training is the only treatment for Sarcopenia
    You can counteract this loss of muscle tissue with strength training, which will also have a positive effect on many other chronic diseases. We’re living longer. Strength is critically important to enjoying the extra four or five decades that we each have been given through medical science advances over the last century.

Strength training, as you age, is the recognized treatment for combating the devastating effects of sarcopenia.

Of all of these important facts, the last one is the most important. Medical scientists at Harvard Medical School, Tufts University, the Academy of Royal Colleges, and dozens more respected medical research institutions have all concluded that intense strength training is the only way to combat the downward spiral of physical health and loss of strength that Sarcopenia causes.

by StrongPath


Resistance Training Improves Insulin Sensitivity in Young Overweight Men

February 5th, 2019 by Debbie Martilotta

New Findings:

Short duration resistance training results in early and progressive increases in muscle mass and function and an increase in insulin sensitivity.

Short bursts of high-intensity resistance training improved insulin sensitivity for relatively young, overweight or obese men.

A team of researchers from the University of Glasgow recruited 10 overweight men to carry out three sessions per week of 15-20 minutes of resistance exercise. The trial lasted for six weeks. Each session involved a single set of nine exercises which were performed until reaching muscle fatigue.

The participants were aged between 28 and 44 years old with BMI between 26 and 32 kg/m2. Their fitness levels, insulin sensitivity, and muscle strength were measured at the start and after each week of the study.

Insulin sensitivity is a marker for whether a person is at risk of type 2 diabetes. If the body becomes less sensitive to the effects of the hormone insulin, blood glucose levels can rise leading to prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

A 16 percent improvement in insulin sensitivity was recorded along with improvements in muscle strength.

The study indicates that short bursts of exercise through the week, carried out on a regular basis, can have substantial effects on improving insulin sensitivity which could help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

It will be interesting to see how a similar exercise regimen could benefit insulin sensitivity for people of both genders who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

The findings have been published in the journal Experimental Physiology.

diabetes.co.uk


Health Benefits Of Resistance Training

January 16th, 2019 by Debbie Martilotta

Resistance training (also called strength training or weight training) is the use of resistance to muscular contraction to build the strength, anaerobic endurance, and size of skeletal muscles.

Resistance training is based on the principle that muscles of the body will work to overcome a resistance force when they are required to do so. When you do resistance training repeatedly and consistently, your muscles become stronger.

A well-rounded fitness program includes strength training to improve joint function, bone density, muscle, tendon and ligament strength, as well as aerobic exercise to improve your heart and lung fitness, flexibility and balance exercises.

Physical and mental health benefits that can be achieved through resistance training include:

  • improved muscle strength and tone – to protect your joints from injury
  • maintaining flexibility and balance, which can help you remain independent as you age
  • weight management and increased muscle-to-fat ratio – as you gain muscle, your body burns more kilojoules when at rest
  • may help reduce or prevent cognitive decline in older people
  • greater stamina – as you grow stronger, you won’t get tired as easily
  • prevention or control of chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, back pain, depression, and obesity
  • pain management
  • improved mobility and balance
  • improved posture
  • decreased risk of injury
  • increased bone density and strength and reduced risk of osteoporosis
  • improved sense of wellbeing – resistance training may boost your self-confidence, improve your body image and your mood
  • improved sleep and avoidance of insomnia
  • increased self-esteem
  • enhanced performance of everyday tasks

It is important to pay attention to safety and form in order to reduce the risk of injury. As a Certified Personal Trainer, Debbie will help you develop a safe and effective program.


Strength-Training Can Help Older Women With Aging

June 4th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

Researchers from the University of Buffalo looked at 46 women across two different age ranges, 60-74 and 75-90, to learn how physical activity affects frailty differently in the two groups. Researchers found that there was a larger difference between the two groups in terms of muscle strength and endurance among those who were very physically active. The study found that older women who engage in a high level of daily physical activity may be able to reverse certain markers of aging, such as slow walking and decreased function.

Resistance training, in particular, can preserve muscle strength and endurance, if started at a younger age.  It appears that committing to regular exercise is not yet a standard part of older women’s lifestyles and is instead a reactive behavior to, for example, falls or illness.

Many women said they stay active by doing light housekeeping or light gardening, and while that is better than nothing, it may not be enough to counteract the effects of aging on the body.

“But for women over the age of 75, muscle strength and endurance declines. 
Starting resistance exercise when they are young and continuing it is important so
that when they reach a very advanced age they have already
built up their strength and endurance reserves,”

The researchers advise women to walk more and consult a physical therapist or trainer to learn about exercises that will build muscle strength and endurance.