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We Each Have A Fitness Age As Well As How Old We Actually Are
Research shows that a physically active person has a strength advantage of about 20 years over a sedentary person. This means that an active 65-year-old is as strong as a sedentary 45-year-old who doesn’t exercise on purpose.
It makes sense as in the absence of enough muscle building and sustained activity, muscle fibers become weaker and smaller at a slow but steady rate. It’s a phenomenon called disuse atrophy, and it’s essentially the same thing that happens to an arm or leg immobilized in a cast – it shrinks and weakens.
Cardio activity, while fun, does not prevent muscle atrophy. Only strength training can maintain muscle tissue which is an important factor in overall body health. Muscle tissue makes up up to 50 percent of body weight, so any loss slows metabolism (the rate at which we burn fuel) and we’re likely to become overweight and more prone to illness and disease.
The importance of our muscles is something we hardly give a second thought to yet all year round, night and day, sleeping or awake, the muscles of our body are working. They can be strong, firm and healthy or allowed to weaken and become flabby.
As we reach our mid-20s, our bodies begin a long and gradual degenerative process that involves losing our muscle tissue at a rate of half a pound per year—that’s if we let it. If we choose to exercise our muscular system, we can put the brakes on the aging process and enjoy a higher quality of health.
We can stay strong with a process of exercising our muscular system with heavy resistance. Strength training is a simple concept that involves briefly working muscles through their range of motion with adequate resistance. This “work” makes the muscles stronger and the bones and joints will also be strengthened.
This strengthening makes movement easier and your body less prone to injury. Everyday tasks and activities become easier and require less effort to complete. Keeping muscles strong and toned with proper exercise creates a positive cycle for people to stay active at any age.
Maintaining muscle tissue can also help you prevent or withstand disease. When sick, the body burns protein much faster than usual, so having adequate protein stores in toned muscles helps the immune system protect against invaders and fight them if they penetrate our body’s armor and defense system .
It is now recognized that we have two ages – our chronological age (the number of years) and a ‘fitness age’ which is determined by various factors such as muscle tone, strength, heart/lung capacity, endurance, flexibility and balance. .
Strength training can help all of these factors keep our “fitness age” down to zero and offers many health benefits not possible with any other form of exercise. You don’t have to be in denial as you get older. You can control any decline or even reverse it with strength exercises – which will have a huge positive impact on your quality of life both in the short and long term.
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