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  • Jason St Clair Newman

Why Staying strong is key to our wellness

Whether we choose yoga, pilates or some form of resistance training to stay strong it is key to our wellness.



I believe it is a critical aspect of looking after ourselves which some people can have tendency to shy away from with visions of Arnold and oiled up bodybuilders cramming our thoughts.

On the contrary staying strong and very importantly as we grow older maintaining our lean muscle is key to our ongoing wellness.

In this article I'll go over some of the why's it is key to our wellness and also how we can do this.


Strong = Balance

Strong = Confidence

Strong + Kids = Fun

Strong = Reduced Injury Risk

Strong = Lower body fat

Strong = Decreased disease risk

Myths



Strong = balance

Balance in my books is a functionality of our strength - weak muscle contracts with fewer cross bridges (the links that help our muscles to contract down at the micro levels) and thus produce slower reaction times (yes there is 100% brain link here as well, but when our muscles are stronger that link is in a simple way much more efficient) ,

Weak muscles can't maintain postures as well and for as long as stronger muscles, quite simply they fatigue quicker and therefore don't help you maintain the postures that help you maintain balance.


Having better balance is a great way of us decreasing our risk of injury, even more so when we get older - if you are injured you can't exercise as well as you normally can, often injury leads to pain and compensation patterns else where often leading to chronic situations pain = unhappy.. believe me!


Strong = Confidence

Having confidence in your body and what you are capable of from a physical perspective is a very empowering feeling.

Being strong helps with this.

Now instead of sitting on the deadlines in those impromptu games with friends, your children and doing fun activities you may have stepped away from if you didn't have that confidence in your body you are first up and in to it.


Strong + Kids = Fun

Now for those of you with young children, you will notice that 6month year old baby doesn't weigh the same as that 3.5 year old wriggling toddler. But guess what your child doesn't think about that they still want you to pick them up, play, swing them around put them on your shoulders and what seems to be universal issue find the most awkward time for this to happen, often its when you have the shopping in one hand, car keys in the other, while you are making a phone call they need to be picked up with your other hand.. and that's NOW not later.

Being strong helps you in this case.


Strong = Reduced Injury Risk

Being physically strong decreases your risk of injury from a physiological standpoint, muscles are stronger, ligaments are stronger and tendons are stronger and bones are stronger - this is even more important as we age - if there's one thing I can fully attest to that is you simply don't heal the same way you did when you were 18, what used to take me 3 weeks to get over is more like 6 months these days.

Now a lot of the research has been in sports, but it also stands to reason we can probably expect this to also help in every day and recreational activities as well.


Strong = Lower body fat

Maintaining or even increasing our lean muscle mass is often a direct effect of being strong, as regular resistance training stimulates the building of muscle. As we get older lean muscle starts disappearing - fact of life unfortunately, however slowing that process as much as we can with staying strong and using resistance training is a great way of staying leaner.. how?

Well higher lean muscle mass means a higher metabolic rate, very simply you burn more calories to keep these muscles going your engine is more efficient.


Strong = Decreased disease risk

Now this isn't just a strong thing, regular exercise helps but resistance training has shown to help with being able to deal with sugar better in the body which means lowering your risk of such issues as Type 2 diabetes


Myths

I have to go to a gym

Nope you can do a lot of body weight resisted exercises that require next to no equipment - and believe me when I say you can find some extremely challenging exercises that don't require equipment just your bodyweight.


I'll get big

Nope - chances are of that happening with a specific diet, adequate rest a well structured and consistent programme is low.

While you may look a little bigger chances are it's your body fat dropping and the muscles strating to show through. Now if you do follow a progressive programme, over time your lean muscle size may increase but this take a lot of focused work and from y experience much harder to to than lose bodyweight.


I can get injured using weights

Now it takes two to tango here, the weights can't hurt you - but you can get hurt using incorrect loads, poor form/technique or too advanced exercises for your level.

This is where good coaching comes in. Get a professional to help you who knows what they are talking about - as side note: just because they are in great shape doesn't mean they know what they are talking about be sure to get good help.


Woman shouldn't lift they'll get too manly

Complete rubbish - next...


I'm too old

See above - also complete rubbish





Now these aren't all the benefits, but for me these are some pretty key reasons as to why being strong is definitely a key to our wellness.


If you want some great ideas on how to do this our group fitness classes at the May retreat will be showing you how you can do this and in a fun way!


Take a look here at some ideas on basic circuits you can do that I put together the first I did quite while ago but is still viable option now - the second is a recent Dumbbell circuit for slightly more advanced exercisers.









References


Lee IH, Park SY. Balance improvement by strength training for the elderly. J Phys Ther Sci. 2013;25(12):1591-1593. doi:10.1589/jpts.25.1591


Lauersen JB, Andersen TE, Andersen LB Strength training as superior, dose-dependent and safe prevention of acute and overuse sports injuries: a systematic review, qualitative analysis and meta-analysis British Journal of Sports Medicine 2018;52:1557-1563.


McPherron AC, Guo T, Bond ND, Gavrilova O. Increasing muscle mass to improve metabolism. Adipocyte. 2013;2(2):92-98. doi:10.4161/adip.22500


Strasser B, Pesta D. Resistance training for diabetes prevention and therapy: experimental findings and molecular mechanisms. Biomed Res Int. 2013;2013:805217. doi:10.1155/2013/805217

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