Monday, February 29, 2016

Why Lift Weights?

Hi Everyone.  I have been fortunate to have found a personal trainer who has helped me in so many ways.  I initially wanted help with strengthening the muscles around my hip, since it had gone through 4 surgeries.  Well, I got more than I bargained for, and I would like to share my new-found wisdom about, and enthusiasm for, strength training.  I will go over its benefits, what happens to the muscles during the process, and then finish with why it would be worthwhile to hire a professional when you begin a strength training program.

·   Strengthen connective tissue, muscles, and tendons.
·   Improve flexibility.
·   Improve quality of sleep.
·   Lower the risk of diabetes. It can also lower blood     glucose levels.
·   Increase your level of endorphins, the brain’s natural opiate, so that you feel great.
·   Maintain weight.  Studies have shown that regular weight training can boost your metabolism by 15%.  Your body has to work harder to maintain muscle vs. maintaining fat.
·   Lesson and slow down the effects of sarcopenia, the loss of body mass that comes with aging.
·   Improve bone density and lessons the risk of bone fractures. (Falls are the #1 cause of injury-related deaths in adults over 65 years of age.)
·   Relieve the pain of arthritis.  Some doctors feel it can be as effective as taking medication for pain.
·   Lower blood pressure, by improving blood flow, even after a workout.
·   Decrease belly fat.
·   Lead to a greater number of vitamin D receptors in the muscles, in comparison with just cardio workouts. This, in turn, will help improve the size and function of the muscles.
·  Strengthen your core, and therefore help alleviate lower back pain, and improve posture.
·  You attain a firmer, stronger, and more sculpted body, (more muscle tone), than if you only do cardio workouts.
·   Prevent premature death, according to one UCLA study.
·   Fight depression, by improving mood and self-esteem.
·   Improve quality of life, and enable you to more easily perform daily activities.
·   Lesson knee pain by building up the muscles around the joint.
·   Improve balance because you are working the smaller stabilizer muscles around the joints.
·   Lower your overall percentage of body fat.

·  During a workout, a large number of microscopic tears occur in the muscle fibers.  These fibers require at least 48 hours of rest, so they can rebuild, which is why you should never work the same muscle groups two days in a row.  Fueling the muscle fibers with the appropriate nutrients after a workout is as important as providing the rest period.  So, for proper growth and healing, it is important to have a meal of protein, carbohydrates, and fat as soon as possible after a training session.

Hiring a trainer can be expensive, probably averaging $50/hour, but it’s a wise investment, even if it’s only for a month, for the following reasons:
·   A knowledgeable trainer can help you prevent injury caused by improper form, load, etc.
·   Someone who has been properly trained in the science of strength training, and the anatomy and physiology of the body can help you learn the fundamental principles of weight training.  He or she should start you out slowly, and be aware of your body’s idiosyncrasies, from previous injuries, to areas of weakness, etc.
·  With a trainer, you can learn about how much weight to lift, how many repetitions are necessary, how much rest is needed between sets, plus how and when to increase the load.
·   A good trainer should ask you about your personal fitness goals, and try to help you achieve them.
·  A good trainer should come with a list of positive references.
·  You should not feel pressure to ‘buy in’ to a large amount of sessions in the beginning.  Try working with someone for a few weeks, and consider changing to another trainer if you don’t feel a connection.

Here’s a take-away fact:  After puberty we begin to lose about 1% of our bone and muscle strength per year.  But, we can try to confront this fact by being proactive about our health.  There are too many physical and mental benefits to be gained from strength training to leave it out of a personal fitness program.  I hope you have found this information has given you food for thought.  Speaking of food, your food intake is what will mostly be responsible for weight loss/gain, but please don’t ignore all of the added benefits of exercise.

PS  If you’re near the Salem area, I highly recommend my trainer, Steve Suppes,  503-851-0433.

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