Latest studies show that strength is a key factor in longevity and an extended healthy life. Resistance weight training may be the single most important thing you can do in a fitness regime, getting stronger may make you live longer.
As we get older we get physically weaker, people tend to reach the apex of this physical strength between their 20s and 30s after that it gradually turns to decline, however people who begin resistance training later in life can recover a lot of this strength. As we age and get into our 50s and 60s our muscle strength decreases and we become more frail because we have lower levels of physical activity, we have increased fatigue because we aren’t as fit as we were when we you were younger and we have decreased mobility which can lead to disability. We sit for longer periods of time and our muscle weakness can affect our posture which is another factor related to early mortality, the better a person’s posture the longer they tend to live.
Our testosterone production decreases as we get older this is a natural anabolic steroid and it causes a decrease in muscle and bone mass and hence wellness. Resistance training activates satellite cells in a process known of “Gene shifting” these new cells cause mitochondria to rejuvenate and after six months of twice-weekly strength exercise training the biomechanical, physiological and genetic signature of all the muscles is turned back by a factor of 15 to 20 years.
Studies have also shown that resistance training can help to reduce cognitive decline as we get older which can be just as important as physical well-being. Lifting weights has been shown to reduce the onset of dementia, reduced memory loss and improve an older persons attention span and also improve the ability to resolve conflicts.
Science is showing that resistance training may add years to your life and the earlier you are able to start to do this the better and longer you will live. Weight training may also affect our emotional and cognitive functions. As a whole exercise can sometimes add a minimum between 6 to 7 years to a lifespan and often longer.
It’s particularly important for women to weight train as this helps to reduce osteoporosis, osteoporosis is a reduction in bone density which tends to affect postmenopausal women, so even doing exercise involving using light dumbbells of standing push-ups against a door or mild squats without weights can have a positive affect on bone density.
Increased strength results in increased fitness which enables elderly people to exercise more readily this has the effect of reducing blood pressure and reducing cholesterol levels and improving general fitness, exercise has also been shown to reduce depression and neuro-degenerative disorders.
In the video below are some exercises for elderly people to help increase strength, fitness and bone density.