When I decided to write this article on the importance of resistance and flexibility training, I thought it would be a piece of cake, but I was wrong. My problem is I have so much I want to tell you. How do I explain how important they are in maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle for adults of ALL ages.
Adults lose between 5-7lbs of muscle every decade after age twenty. With the loss of muscle mass, we begin to lose muscle strength and function which makes the activities of daily living harder to perform. These activities include lifting, carrying and home maintenance. From age 30, we also lose bone mass which puts us at greater risk for fractures.
Resistance training is a form of exercise that improves muscle strength and endurance and is effective in increasing muscle and bone mass. In resistance training, you move against resistance by using your body weight, gravity, bands, weighted bars, free weights or exercise machines. Research reveals that resistance exercise is effective for increasing muscle mass at ALL ages. The great news is that it’s never too late to get started to build muscle and bone mass.
- Improved muscle strength and tone; helps protect your joints from injury
- Maintaining flexibility and balance
- Weight management, as you gain muscle you burn more calories, even at rest
- May help to reduce or prevent cognitive decline in older adults
- Greater stamina
- Prevention or control of chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, back pain, depression and obesity
- Pain management
- Improved mobility and balance
- Improved posture
- Decreased risk of injury
- Increased bone density and strength and reduced risk of osteoporosis
- Improved sense of well being
- Better night’s sleep and avoidance of insomnia
- Increased self-esteem
- Enhanced performance of daily tasks
It’s quite an impressive list don’t you think!
Flexibility is defined as the range of motion of your joints or the ability of your joints to move freely. Range of motion is the distance and direction your joints can move.
Muscles and joints deteriorate with age and without adequate flexibility, daily activities such as getting out of bed, lifting a child, stretching to get something or squatting to pick something up can become more difficult and at times painful. Flexibility training can help keep those joints and muscles limber, improve your range of motion, reduce muscle soreness and make the activities of daily living easier to perform. Flexibility can be improved through resistance training, stretching exercises, Yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates, water therapy and walking. Something for everyone.
I believe that Resistance and Flexibility training improve quality of life, helps us to perform activities of daily living with greater ease, improves our mental outlook, gives us more energy, helps us manage our health and just simply makes use feel and look better. Who doesn’t want that?
So invest in yourself and your health and get into Resistance and Flexibility training. I know every time I get down on the floor to play with my grandkids, lift them to give them a big hug or run around and get silly with them, I’m glad I did. Namaste
By Nancy Barratt. Nancy is a certified Personal Trainer, Older Adult Specialist and Yoga Instructor at Body Design. Body Design offers Personal Training + Yoga Classes to assist individuals achieve their health and fitness goals. www.bodydesign.ca