Why do we exercise? It could be because you want to look toned in pics his summer, or you want to lose weight, or you want to be able to outrun your sports opponent. There are endless reasons to exercise (as well as reasons not to)!
When we encourage you to exercise on a regular basis, our reasoning is based upon how our bodies are designed and how they function over time. Our bodies are still designed for days filled with strenuous physical activity such as hunting, gathering, and running from predators in premodern times. But as our technology advanced, that strenuous physical activity has disappeared from daily life causing negative results. Now, we don’t even need to get out of bed to have groceries delivered to our door!
Our bodies change as we grow old (it’s natural!), but exercise helps us curb how drastically they change! As young as 30 years old, we begin to lose strength, muscle mass, and bone density (even if you’re an elite athlete) which can lead to additional problems down the road.
So what do we do??
We know cardio is an easy route to turn to for exercise and it does have many benefits, however, our favorite is strength training! Strength training is more beneficial to our bodies than cardio as we age and is useful in everyday life.
Benefits of Strength Training (ST):
Increased Muscle Mass – ST makes our muscles strong which allows us to perform daily activities with ease and maintain our independence for longer as we age.
Stronger Bones – ST helps our bones stay strong so we have less falls and injuries.
Quality of Life – ST makes daily activities easier such as getting onto the floor to play with your grandkid or picking up a heavy suitcase.
Strength training also improves you posture, mood, and energy levels due to the release of endorphins during a workout!
There are many ways to strength train:
- Bodyweight – Movements with no equipment (ex. pushups, squats, lunges, planks).
- Resistance Training – Bodyweight movements performed with resistance bands for extra muscle recruitment.
- Free Weights – Kettlebells/dumbbells used to perform movements under more tension.
If you are new to strength training, we recommend starting out with bodyweight work and gradually moving on to using free weights. Good form and consistency are the keys to success!
Every body is different and what works for us may not work for you and vice versa! What is important is that you take care of your body so that you are able to live your life to the absolute fullest.
Cherie Kilambi is our director of physiotherapy and has been passionate about weight training and nutrition for over 25 years. Schedule your appointment for a Functional Movement Screening with Cherie so we can help you begin your fitness journey!