Strength really does matter! In the words of strength coach and author of numerous training books including “Starting Strength” Mark Rippetoe; strength makes everything better. He generally applies this statement to the field of sports but it can equally be applied to all aspects of life.
For many people, strength is often the last fitness characteristic that they think to develop but unfortunately is often the first one to go. As we age, muscle fibers get weaker and smaller; a condition called sarcopenia. Combined with a decrease in bone mass called osteopenia, this results in the frailty commonly seen in old age. Day to day tasks such as getting out if a chair or climbing a flight of stairs can become challenging and even dangerous for some older people. And there is a reason for that – it’s the combination of sarcopenia and osteopenia.
Looking on the bright side, while a degree of age-related osteopenia and sarcopenia are inevitable, the degree to which experience these two conditions can be significantly reduced by engaging in regular strength training. In addition to building healthy muscle and bone tissue, regular strength training offers some additional benefits:
- Improved joint health
- Increased joint mobility
- Increased insulin sensitivity
- Reduced incidence of lower back pain
- Improved posture
- Elevated metabolism
And, contrary to popular belief, regular strength training workouts will not make you “muscle bound”, muscle does not turn to fat when you stop exercising and, ladies, gaining a few pounds of muscle will not make you look manly. Like Rippetoe said, strength really does make everything better!