Weight-training…an Anti-Aging Tool?

By Dr. Uche Odiatu, B.A., DMD, NSCA Certified Personal Trainer

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Many dental professionals are strategically mapping out their future financial security. They are tax planning and using the 10% solution to save and invest their hard-earned money. Freedom 55 used to be the catch phrase championed by many financial advisors. But with the recent economic challenges I can easily see it being called Freedom 75. The irony is that most people over fifty do not enjoy excellent health and physical fitness. How can anyone indulge in their monetary abundance without the ability to physically take care of him or herself?

Robin Marantz Henig, Scientific American magazine writer reported that almost half of North Americans over 75 require some assistance with their daily tasks. Unless there are major advancements in senior fitness levels, aging North Americans may spend their latter years in conditions of debilitating dependency.

Dr. Steven Lamm (author of Younger at Last) found that non-active men and women lose one percent of their muscle mass every year after 30. This will result in many consequences in the quality of life: lack of ability to take care of your dream home; inability to enjoy travel; problems with posture; and greater incidence of falls with diminished leg power for balance and movement. Less muscle a (very active tissue) means slower metabolism, which will eventually result in more bodyfat (inactive, useless tissue).

It is downward spiral. The less muscle you have, the fewer calories you burn each day. And the less strength you have the weaker you become. Daily activities like going grocery shopping and climbing stairs become more challenging. Result? You become even less active.

Do these sound like dire consequences? What can you do to stem the tide? Try adding strength-training or weight-training to your weekly activities. That’s right – those dumbbells and barbells in the gym are not just for the bodybuilders on the beach!

Recent research has shown that one of the most important steps in not just retarding the aging process, but in reversing the process, is resistance or strength training. It is not just a suggestion, it is recommended! Studies at Tufts University have shown that people in their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s have benefited from safe and effective strength training in many ways, especially their balance and motor skills.

Can resistance training help you fight chronic illness? New research by the American College of Sports Medicine has shown that a simple 12 week resistance training program decreases inflammation (a key player in every chronic disease) in the body. In Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise Journal November 2012 a study showed that after just three months of a moderate intense weight training program circulating C Reactive Protein (CRP) decreased 33%, leptin 18%, and TNF (tumor necrosis factor) by 29%. Don’t those numbers get your workout juices flowing? If not now…when?

Sadly, only 10% of all regular exercisers include any strength training programs. The types of exercise they choose for the most part are aerobic in nature: walking, running, cycling and dance classes. These are excellent activities for maintaining cardiovascular health and fitness, but they do not contribute in a significant way toward maintaining or building muscle mass. The best exercise program combines aerobic activity, flexibility and strength-training exercises.

Why not include physical fitness to ensure your enjoyment of the golden years? Seek out a certified personal trainer or join a strength class at your local health club. Remember, always check with your health care provider before starting any new exercise program.

See you at the gym.

 

OdiatuDr U.Odiatu DMD is the author of The Miracle of Health and an NSCA Certified Personal Trainer. This busy dentist is also a professional member of the American College of Sports Medicine. He lectures at the largest dental conferences in North America. www.fitdentist.com

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