Strength Training for Bones & Brain

Most people know that exercise in general is very good for your brain, overall physical wellbeing and injury prevention, especially as we age. But did you know that adding strength training boosts the effects? The following article discusses the benefits, the easiest way to get started today, and is sure to help you get your brain around its importance.

Strength Training for Stronger Bones and a Better Brain
By: Deane Alban

It’s an unfortunate fact of life. As you get older you have to work harder to stay in the same physical condition you were in when you were younger.

Unless you work at keeping fit, every year your muscle mass and bone density decrease, while your body fat increases. Most people lose about 30 percent of their muscle mass between ages 50 and 70.

If you find your current exercise program is no longer enough to keep your weight and waistline where you want them to be, consider upgrading your fitness regime. If you’re ready to take your exercise program to the next level, adding strength training is an excellent choice for both your body and your brain.

Strength Training Terminology

Strength training involves using your muscles to overcome a force and there are many ways to do it. You can use equipment like dumbbells, barbells, exercise machines, resistance bands, medicine balls, or kettle bells.

You can also use your body’s own weight to provide resistance instead of using a piece of equipment. A familiar example of a body weight exercise would be doing pushups, but there are now some very advanced systems based on this concept.

You’ll often hear other terms being used synonymously for strength training. Resistance training is a collective term for various types of exercises that rely on the use of hydraulic or elastic action to promote muscle growth. Weight training refers to using dumbbells or free weights.

Strength training isn’t the same thing as body building, so don’t get freaked out thinking you’ll have to dead lift huge barbells or wind up with a physique like Arnold’s!

Strength Training for Your Body

As you age, you can expect your muscle strength and size and metabolic rate to decrease, but strength training is one of the best ways to reverse these trends. It will build muscle mass, raise metabolism, contribute to heart health, and improve your overall health and fitness.

Strength training improves balance and builds stronger bones, both of which are critical as you age. Falls and subsequent broken bones can be life-altering. Falls account for 25% of seniors’ hospital admissions and 40% of nursing home admissions. Tragically, almost half who enter a nursing home never return to independent living and over 10,000 seniors die per year from these falls.

Strength Training for Your Brain

Exercise is a known brain booster. It increases blood supply to the brain. It also increases brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a protein that promotes the formation of new brain cells. Exercising just twice a week decreases your risk of getting dementia by 50%.

Exercise creates neurotransmitters and new neural connections, leaving you feeling happier and less anxious. A Duke University study showed that it worked better for depression than Zoloft!

Exercise is widely considered one of the best things you can do to increase brain fitness. But are there any benefits of strength training over aerobic exercise?

Some studies have found that strength training boosts brain function even more than aerobic activities. One study reported significant cognitive improvement after six months of twice-weekly workout sessions and supported this with a series of MRIs which showed positive changes in parts of the brain associated with cognitive behavior.

Getting Started with Strength Training

If you enjoy working out at the gym, go for it! They’ve got the equipment and trainers to teach you proper form. But if you’d rather exercise at home, the easiest way to get started is with a set of resistance bands. They are inexpensive, lightweight, and easily transportable. They’re great for every fitness level because you can easily make any exercise as easy or as hard as you’d like and as you get stronger, they’ll grow with you. You’ll need few bands of varying resistance, a door anchor, handles, and a starter guide or DVD. You’ll be amazed at the variety of exercises you can do with something so simple!

You are never too old to start exercising. But if you haven’t exercised in a long time or have a medical condition, you should talk to your doctor before beginning a new exercise program. Remember to start slowly, pace yourself, and stop if you experience pain or feel unwell in any way.

SOURCES:
How Often Falls Occur at LearnNotToFall.com
Regular Exercise and Resistance Training Are Good for the Brain at AlzInfo.org
Strength Training May Give Boost to Seniors’ Brains at Health.USNews.com

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About the Author: Deane Alban is co-founder of BeBrainFit.com and author of Brain Gold: The Anti-Alzheimer’s, Anti-Aging Guide for Your Brain. Brain Gold provides a powerful but simple rejuvenation program that can stop premature brain aging and end memory loss and brain fog.

 

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