A necessary ingredient for aging gracefully is adopting healthy lifestyle habits. I can’t talk about healthy lifestyles without extolling the importance of a total conditioning exercise program. Such a program includes: cardio, strength, balance, and flexibility (stretching). Yet, most people only focus on cardio. Cardio (walking, jogging, running, swimming, biking, raking leaves, and other activities that get your heart pumping) is great. But, it is not enough to sustain you as you enter your 50s and beyond. It is imperative that you engage in the other three if you want to age gracefully as well as remain active.
Many women readily understand the importance of balance and flexibility, but shy away from strength training. They equate strength training with lifting weights. I can’t tell you the number of times I have heard a woman say, “I don’t want to lift weights because I don’t want bulging muscles.” First of all, lifting weights is not the only way to train for strength. But if your program does involve lifting, it is highly unlikely that you will develop bulging muscles unless that is your goal. And, even then, it takes a lot more than lifting to a few weights to build huge muscles.
So, because I want my readers to start doing strength training, here are four compelling reasons to include it in your fitness program.
- Increased mental and physical stamina. Strength training helps you to get stronger, leaner, and healthier. And, leads to increased mental and physical stamina so that you can better handle the stresses of everyday living.
- Strengthens your bones. Strength training strengthens your bones reducing your risk of developing osteoporosis. Stronger bones mean that you can enjoy daily activities with more confidence and ease.
- Prevents injury. Strength training strengthens muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones thus lowering the chance of injury.
- Slows down the aging process. Strength training is the only exercise proven to slow down the aging process. It prevents muscle loss that normally accompanies aging.
If you don’t include strength training in your regular workout program, you’re missing out on a key component of overall fitness and health.
What are some of your thoughts and stories about exercise, graceful aging, or strength training? I want to hear from you.