It is now well-known that strength training leads to very important biological changes in trained people, whatever the age. Numerous studies, experts, and health organizations have examined the subject and concluded that strength training plays a crucial role not only in maintaining good health, but also in improving it substantially. Strength training addresses the musculoskeletal system. Here are a few interesting examples of how starting a strength training regimen could help improve your health and how things really work.
1. You're more muscular than you think
Points worth retaining: 30 to 40% of your weight is muscle mass. Everybody should maintain a good muscle mass but people over 50 should definitely do so in order to limit the adverse effects of losing muscle.
2. Energy stores
If we dive in a little deeper and examine muscle tissue, we find that muscles are formed by tiny fibres, also called muscle cells. The number of fibres a muscle has varies a lot depending on its size: it's no secret that leg muscles are much larger than arm muscles and we could expect them to have a greater number of fibres. These cells, like all cells in your body, have in them what we call mitochondria. Mitochondria are the power plants of a cell and allow the cells to take a nutrient, break it down and create energy. Needless to say, muscle fibres are very energy-hungry and require good, healthy mitochondria in order to be able to contract and allow us to move. Luckily, studies have shown that strength training improves mitochondria function. Other studies have also shown that regular high intensity resistance training improves glycogen storage capacity - glycogen being a very potent source of energy for your muscles. These two mechanisms help to explain how strength training makes people more energetic!
Points worth retaining: strength training will increase your energy level by improving both your mitochondrial function and your muscle cells' capacity to store glycogen.
Points worth retaining: strength training comes with an increase in muscle mass, which comes with a better ability to generate heat and to maintain a normal body temperature, which is particularly important in the elderly.
4. Muscles are nothing without the nervous syste
5. It's very adaptable
To me, the most interesting fact is that this whole system is adaptable. In other words, we now have the knowledge, the equipment and the methods to fully improve our health in unimaginable ways, with as little as 30 minutes per week. A vast number of studies have shown the benefits of a high-effort protocol, involving fewer visits to the gym and aiming for a small number of high quality workouts rather than a large number of poor quality workouts.
Points worth retaining: you can always improve your health, no matter your age. Always keep in mind that muscle tissue is perhaps the most important aspect to work on as you get older but rest assured, great benefits await those who want to improve their health through strength training.
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