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The importance of weight training for older women

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Are you among the 80 percent of Americans currently resisting resistance training? Bulk-up your mind on the many benefits of weight training — especially for older women — with these seven healthy body gains.

Are you among the 80 percent of Americans currently resisting resistance training? Bulk-up your mind on the many benefits of weight training - especially for older women - with these seven healthy body gains, because weight training may be the boost you need to age healthily.

Starting with the basics

Weight training employs weight for physical resistance to create just enough muscle stress to yield stronger, more resilient muscular performance, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Whether using weights, resistance bands, or your own body weight, the following are benefits from adding weight training to your schedule.

Enhance muscle mass

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 2 ½ hours of aerobic exercise and strength training each week, but only 20 percent of women are achieving this.

Why the push for more weight training for aging women? Lean muscle mass naturally decreases with advancing age. As a matter of fact, sedentary adults lose 3 to 8 percent of their body's total muscle mass each decade. Resistance training reduces muscle loss while augmenting resting metabolism by roughly 7 percent, according to Healthline.com.

Defend against osteoporosis

Ten million Americans are affected by osteoporosis, and 80 percent of them are female, according to Time magazine.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation notes that Osteoporosis is a bone disease that causes bone loss and bone weakness, making you more susceptible to breaks and injuries.

What does enhanced muscle mass do for you? Well, for one, it decreases the risk of developing osteoporosis. Aging females are at more risk for osteoporosis because following menopause, decreased estrogen doesn't provide the bone protection it did before.

Increasing your muscle mass through lifting weights or resistance training supports bone health making bones stronger and more resistant to injury, reports Healthline.com.

Delay the aging process

Looking for that fountain of youth? Aerobic activity and regular weight training have been shown to slow the aging process.

According to a 12-week cellular study, older participants experienced a 69 percent increase of mitochondrial capacity when performing regular aerobic and strength training routines. Strength training resulted in more strength and lean muscle mass than the aerobic activity over the 12-week period, according to Health.com.

Why is increasing mitochondrial capacity so important?

"Mitochondria and ribosomes are organelles that are important for metabolism and aerobic fitness but tend to deteriorate as people get older. Keeping these structures healthy can reverse some signs of age-related decline within cells," reports Health.com.

Reduce injury frequency

More muscle support means more padding around bones and stronger structures between them. Increasing your muscle mass can help protect your body from bone breaks and balance-related falls.

Prevent type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease

A 2016 study demonstrated how strength training can lower a woman's risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Research teams from Harvard Medical School and the National Institutes of Health concluded that strength training reduced the incidence of type 2 diabetes by 30 percent and cardiovascular disease by 17 percent, reports Time magazine.

Strength training reduces the body mass index, which, in turn, improves how the body uses insulin. A bigger muscle also means that glucose can better circulate throughout the body.

Sharpen your mind

Advancing age is often linked with memory loss. Every four seconds, a new case of dementia is discovered worldwide, with more than 115 million people predicted to be affected by the disease by 2050, reports Harvard Health.

Consistent strength training and aerobic exercise sharpen memory and preserve cognitive function for older adults. This is because exercise triggers the release of brain chemicals responsible for the production and protection of brain cells, reports Harvard Health.

Regulate symptoms of chronic conditions

Strength training has been shown to diminish the signs and symptoms of common chronic conditions. According to the Mayo Clinic, strength training controls the unwelcome side effects of arthritis, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression, obesity and chronic back pain.

Convinced of the benefits of weight training, but just not sure of how to safely incorporate it into your weekly routine? Explosive Sports Performance helps clients of all ages develop exercise programs for strength, power, endurance and injury prevention.

Get more muscle and more out of life by committing to weekly weight training today.

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