Strength training to reduce negative side effects of aging

Have you heard of sarcopenia?  From  (my new favorite book) Choosing the Strong Path, Reversing the Downward Spiral of Aging“: “Beginning in our thirties, every single human being on earth develops a condition, which stealthily and steadily sucks away our strength. Every year we get weaker and weaker unless we proactively work against this default trend. The erosion of our strength accelerates in our 50’s and continues to increase…”

Medical advances have drastically increased life expectancy, but if yours is a mostly sedentary lifestyle, it is not uncommon for the later years to be spent in & out of doctors’ offices and hospitals due to illness and injury (hello, falls & broken hips).

A primary factory in the ability to remain independent, fit & healthy is the preservation of skeletal muscle mass and strength. “Muscles are the body’s primary reserve of amino acids. They are key to the health of our immune system” (think healing, risk of infection).

The notion of prevention is a necessary piece of the health reform debate, with “The World Health Organization estimating that if the major risk factors for chronic disease were eliminated, at least 80 percent of all heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes would be prevented, and more than 40 percent of cancer cases would be prevented”. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that “four modifiable health risk behaviors – lack of physical activity, poor nutrition, tobacco use, and excessive alcohol consumption – are responsible for much of the illness, suffering, and early death related to chronic diseases”, also stating that regular physical activity is one of the most important things a person can do to stay healthy.

Fortunately, there is emerging research suggesting that engaging in intense exercise may likely slow, and possibly prevent this decline and resultant conditions (diabetes, heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, peripheral artery disease, Alzheimer’s and dementia). Check out StrongPath.com for a list of fresh, frequently updated research.

The Goal: Fit Method is a thoughtful & attentive step-wise approach with lifestyle modifications, including exercise, to build strength in order to reap the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and improved quality of life. It is important to work with a trainer to identify existing muscle imbalances so you can get the maximum benefit with a reduced risk of injury as well as to develop a customized, balanced plan for achieving life-changing results!

Seriously, if you care at all about being vibrant, healthy and enjoying your last few decades instead of merely existing, you need this book.  If you’re still in your 40’s or early 50’s, it will be easier to start and create positive shifts, but know that it is neither too early nor too late to start.

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