Hitch Fit Living Magazine Volume 5 - March/April 2016 - Page 41

When beginning an exercise regimen, many of your average people overlook proper resistance training. Why is this? Through my experience as a trainer, the main answers I have come across are lack of experience with resistance exercises or a misconception that only people looking to build lots of muscle or improve sport performance lift weights. There is also a very large misconception that lifting weights will make you ”big and bulky” but this is not entirely true. This article will help to educate readers about the importance of a proper resistance training routine. First, what are the benefits of resistance training? The most obvious answer is resistance exercises help to build muscle and strength. Why is this important? Having more muscle or a leaner body increases metabolism and makes it easier to lose and maintain weight. Typically having more muscle, in most cases, means you will be stronger and can make day to day labors or activities much easier, especially in older adults. There are many benefits to resistance training and some of the most important are as follows; decreases in blood pressure, improved blood sugar, increases in bone density, decreases in muscle loss, improved mobility, stronger joints, and prevention/improvement of arthritis. Many of these benefits are very important as we age. When we age, we lose muscle and gain more body fat naturally. Resistance training can help to slow these effects. Also as we age, we become more susceptible (especially women) to developing bone density issues such as osteoporosis and osteomalacia. Resistance training stimulates bone production making our bones stronger and less susceptible to fracture or other injuries. A great example would be an older adult that has trouble getting in and out of a chair. Increasing leg strength could greatly improve this person’s ability to get up and around. Where to begin? For starters, you should consult with your physician, especially if you are older in age or have underlying health conditions that could be made worse with improper exercise. For an example, we will use someone who has no underlying conditions. The types of resistance exercises that will benefit the most are compound over isolation exercises. Compound exercises utilize multiple joints and multiple muscles so they create a larger stimulus for the body to adapt towards. These types of exercises usually include various presses/pulling movements with the larger muscle groups. Examples being the leg press, squatting, chest presses, and rows.