Weight training exercises looked like hard work to Nancy, something body builders do, until she realized they were for her too!
Nancy’s right arm hurt every time she tried to put on her coat or reach for something. Her arm’s movement was getting more and more limited. Her left arm was starting to hurt too as it took up the slack. Her doctor recommended surgery, but said she could try physical therapy first.
During her first visit, she couldn’t figure out why the physical therapist (PT) kept looking at her back muscles. Nancy kept telling her, “It hurts here in my upper front right arm.”
Well—after the exercise prescription, she understood. The PT said:
The muscles in your back and whole shoulder area are weak and underdeveloped. That puts most of the lifting and movement burden on the ligaments of your right shoulder causing them to get inflamed, leading to your pain. We need to strengthen the muscles in this entire area so they can do the work that they are intended to do.
The PT prescribed some simple weight training exercises to strengthen the muscles of the shoulder blades, back, and entire shoulder area of both arms. Now 6-months later, Nancy no longer has pain in her arms!
She didn’t need surgery, she needed weight training exercises.
Weight Training isn’t just for body builders, its an important component of an exercise plan for a healthy YOU.
What can these exercises do for you?
Your muscles, bones, and joints are made to push, pull, lift, bend, rotate (throw), squat, and step. They need these activities to function properly. The adage, “use it or lose it” is true.
Nancy’s favorite exercise was walking, but she did nothing to develop her upper body. Her administrative job didn’t require any physical work besides sitting, typing, and walking either. As she aged, the muscles in her arms got weaker and weaker.
With all our modern conveniences, few of us do the physical labor that naturally develops and keeps muscles and joints healthy and strong. Weight training exercises fill in this gap.
They help you look good and feel good, prevent falls and fractures, and lose pounds too.
Look Good and Feel Good. Weight training exercises firm and tone muscles as well as build muscle mass.
Miriam Nelson, PhD, author of Strong Women Stay Young, created quite a stir after publishing her research in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
She found that after a year of strength training twice a week, women’s bodies were 15 to 20 years more youthful. They had less fat and more muscle; bone loss was prevented or reversed; their strength and energy increased dramatically; and they showed gains in balance and flexibility.
They also had some great side effects like increased self-confidence and feeling more empowered and involved in life.
Prevent Falls and Fractures. Your bones are not just dry sticks that hold your body up. They’re made of living tissue that’s constantly breaking down and rebuilding itself. To stay alive and do their work, bones need minerals like calcium and magnesium, and vitamins like vitamin D.
It’s well known that physical activity plays a vital role in supporting proper bone mineral content and preventing osteoporosis.
Putting force on bones through weight bearing and weight training exercises sets up a mini electrical current in the bone. This current termed the “piezoelectric effect” draws calcium, magnesium and other minerals needed for bone density and strength.
Stronger bones and muscles mean less falls, less broken bones. For instance, “A 2008 study in Vancouver showed that a group of people age seventy and up who followed a home-based regimen combining walking twice a week with strength training and balance exercises had 36 percent fewer repeat falls after one year,” reports Christiane Northrup, MD, women’s health expert.
Lose Pounds. Studies show that we begin losing muscle mass after age 35 unless doing weight training exercises, according to Ray Strand MD, natural health expert. Not only does this loss of muscle make you weak, more prone to injury of ligaments, and set you up for falls, it leads to weight gain too.
Muscles are the “engine” of the body. Muscle cells store most of the glucose (sugar) created from the metabolism of carbohydrates and convert it into energy as needed.
When you lose muscle mass including its cells, the fat cells take over and store the glucose as fat. Fat cells are more plentiful around your middle leading to the familiar “Pot Belly” or “middle age spread.”
Getting weak and fat doesn’t have to be a part of aging!
These exercises are not just a matter of looking good or showing off your strength, they’re a matter of your health, healing and ability to live a full active life without pain.
Begin weight training exercises soon!