Jeff Tomaszewski Posts
Research leaves no doubt and the scientific proof is so overwhelming, it’s shocking that building muscle is not prescribed as THE frontline defense against disease.
Unfortunately, taking control of your health and fitness is significantly underpublicized in our hectic, media-frenzied world. In short, fatty muscles are killing you.
After you reach the age of about 16 to 20, your body naturally stops growing new muscle. That’s when the power of youth stops working in your favor.
Every second of every day, most of our 100 trillion cells in our body are busy creating new cells to replace old ones that are damaged or dying.
If you don’t do something to keep your muscles activated and strong, fat begins to invade the sedentary muscles, boring itself deeper and deeper into your muscle tissue — marbleizing the muscle much like a fatty cut of steak.
The wasting of muscle tissue damages the metabolic processes that take place and weakens your body’s natural immunity in direct correlation to the amount of muscle you lose. Over many years, the ravishing effects on the body threatens the health and independence of millions of Americans.
If that were not enough, things can get even worse for the female population. The average woman loses 0.5 pounds of muscle each year and gains 1.5 pounds of fat. By the time she turns 50, nearly half of her body weight is fat.
Hope and Help
Many world-renowned, peer-reviewed medical journals and scientists have established that an improper fat-to-muscle ratio — too much fat in your muscles or intramuscular fat — leaves us vulnerable to a host of nightmarish health problems.
According to a new report from the National Center for Biotechnology, lack of strength and muscle tone causes sarcopenia — a wasting of muscle tissue — leading to weakness, disability, increased hospitalization, immobility and loss of independence....
Brace yourself. Nearly 50 percent of people who begin an exercise program drop out within the first six months, according to Rod K. Dishman, Ph.D., director of the Exercise Psychology Laboratory in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Georgia.
The question is, “Why?” What is it about sticking with a fitness routine that causes so many people abandon it?
Most people don’t want health and fitness badly enough. It is a simple fact of human psychology that if we want something badly enough, we’ll do everything we can to get it.
Your challenge is to find out what motivates you to get serious about fitness and stick with it.
Unlock your motivation
Bryan Reece was told by his doctors that he was minutes away from a heart attack. So Bryan decided to fight back. Even though he had not been in a gym in 30 years, he turned his life around and eventually became a finisher in the Arizona Ironman competition. You can read his story in the book, “You Are an Ironman: How Six Weekend Warriors Chased Their Dream of Finishing the World’s Toughest Triathlon,” by Jacques Steinberg.
You do not have to be part of that 50 percent of people who quit. You can stay committed and finish strong. It is all about finding what motivates you personally.
Here are some possible motivators:
- Do it for your health. Consistent exercise and healthy eating are the two very best things you can do for your health. You will develop a strong, healthy heart, reduce your chances of many cancers, prevent diabetes, keep a sharp mind and resist dementia, and avoid many of the common ailments that come with aging. It is possible to age without decay, and the key to this is exercise and eating well.
- Do it to look better.
I’ve been at this game called “exercise” my entire adult life, and it is my ever-growing certainty that no matter the issue, no matter the benefit sought, no matter the disease to be addressed or the problem to be surmounted, strength training seems to be the answer.
Want to look better in your clothes (or out of them)? Want to address diabetes, hypertension, obesity and other diseases?
Are you about to enter into chemotherapy? Are you suffering from depression? In almost all of these situations, strength training is the most effective measure you can take on the road to good health. Numerous studies in recent years have proven this.
When it comes to strength training, I have definite opinions on the best and most efficient way to perform it, but those opinions are not as strong as my belief that you should perform strength training in almost any form. Muscle has evolved over billions of years and is the most adaptive and plastic tissue in our body. As such, strength training can be incredibly simple, precisely because muscle is so complex.
There are many different ways to train, and skeletal muscle will adapt to them all. My only concern is when improper training techniques pose an injury risk. As training expert Arthur Jones once said, “It won’t matter if you have 20-inch arms if you injure your back.”
In the past 10 years, scientific literature has exploded with studies that uncover benefits to strength training that we never imagined. Much of this is linked to myokines, the hormone-like substances released by exercising muscle that benefit other body tissues.
Like my lifelong focus, most of this literature centers on the why of strength training. As the why becomes more accepted and obvious, the focus will begin to shift to the how....
Many people exercise, and they do it for a variety of reasons.
Most tend to focus on cosmetic reasons, but the No. 1 thing that I’m interested in as an exercise professional is a functional ability — the ability to carry out everyday tasks with ease. You name it: walking, getting up from a chair, lifting, climbing stairs or participating in your favorite activities.
Those most affected by losses in functional ability are the elderly. However, with targeted strength training, they can see a rapid reversal of this condition.
Strength training stimulates skeletal muscular strengthening. All reasonable expectations from exercise are accessed through the skeletal muscles — the only window into the body — by strengthening them. Expectations should include:
- Improvements in bone density and balance
- Vascular and metabolic efficiency
- Joint stability
- Muscular strength
The elderly are just as capable of performing productive exercise as anyone and stand to gain as much, if not more, from strength training.
Research has shown that exercise programs for elderly patients have a role in preventing illness and injury, limiting functional loss and disability, and alleviating the course and symptoms of existing cardiac, pulmonary, musculoskeletal and metabolic disorders.
Of course, exercise safety is paramount when discussing training programs for elderly populations.
It is crucial to abide by preliminary exercise considerations. Attempting to stimulate physical improvements would not be worthwhile if someone gets hurt doing it.
Strength Training 101 for the Elderly
- Choose only one to two days per week to do strength training. All of the “good stuff” happens while we recover from exercise, and this can take three to seven days. Recovery periods may need to be even longer as we age or become more advanced in our exercise performance.
- Choose the minimum number of exercises that produce the greatest effect.