More benefits from strength training



I'm probably preaching to the choir on this but a friend sent me a link to an article touting the benefits of strength training. I've posted about this before, and I'm going to guess that most of you who check in here already lift, so this article is those who haven't thrown some iron and steel around. For me, though, it gives me extra incentive when I read things like this because I'm getting older now and my fitness and overall health is becoming more important to me. I'm not a serious lifter like our founding brother James is, but I'm trying to make lifting a more regular part of my lifestyle now, as I've lifted off and on over the years with no real consistency.

The article was in Forbes of all things. Some quick highlights from the article's summary of new scientific findings documented in New York Times writer Gretchen Reynold's book  The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live Longer :

  • A Boston University study indicates that weight training can help regress obesity and resolve metabolic disorders
  • Weight training can help improve performance in endurance sports. Those who do strength training and plyometrics have a greater amount of signalling molecules that assist in kick starting the adaptive changes, making muscles more efficient in using oxygen, ie , improve endurance. 
  • Even without increased muscle mass, it can improve and increase the activation of motor units within muscles
  • Helps prevent diabetes. Building and exercising muscles increases the muscles demand for glucose, pulling it from the bloodstream and keeping blood sugar levels from getting dangerously high. 
  • Certain weight training routines can replicate most the benefits obtained from running, walking, swimming. 
  • Using one's own body weight in exercise such as yoga and pilates, gymnastics, has indicated it can prompt muscular "re-modeling" as with working with weights. 
There are some additional benefits in cited in the article, but the point is, start lifting if you aren't doing so already! And interestingly enough, Gretchen Reynolds wrote an article in the NY Times pondering what is the single best exercise someone could doThere are various proponents advocating for a particular exercise, but one stood out to me: 


Squats! Reynolds talked to Stuart Phillips, a professor of kinesiology at McMaster University and an expert on the effects of resistance training on the human body. She quotes him as stating, squats "activates the body’s biggest muscles, those in the buttocks, back and legs....Just fold your arms across your chest,” he said, “bend your knees and lower your trunk until your thighs are about parallel with the floor. Do that 25 times. It’s a very potent exercise.” You can then add additional weight bearing loads (ie, a barbell) once the body-weight squats become too easy.

You'll like your body shape much better, you'll feel better and more confident. So get lifting and stay healthy. 
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