By Robert Forster, P.T., PHASE IV CEO & Founder
We are bombarded with research demonstrating that exercise and an active lifestyle are the keys to maintaining good health as we age. And we now know that getting fit by 50 can even reverse some diseases more effectively than drug therapy. The evidence is compelling: obesity, digestive disorders, heart conditions, vascular disease, blood sugar problems and diabetes – and even some cancers – have been shown to improve or be prevented with regular sustained (aerobic) movement.
But what does that mean for you? How do you create an active lifestyle as you get older?” What are the levels of activity needed to get these benefits? And how do we do it without exhausting or injuring ourselves and causing other kinds of problems?
Science has those answers. And at PHASE IV, science is at the core of every program we offer. For instance did you know that without balancing aerobic workouts with strength training workouts, you miss out on an integral ingredient of overall health and fitness? Scientific research shows us the need for weight training as a critical component of every health and fitness program we create for our clients. When you consider that bone density and muscle mass peak for us at age 25, you are never too young or too old to focus on putting more bone and muscle in the “bank” with a smart resistance training program because we are all losing lean body tissue as we age.
Think about it. Strength training makes sense to improve joint mechanics and to protect joints from the normal wear and tear of daily activities and fitness movements. Strength training is the key to assure you can stay healthy enough to keep exercising. Once the joints are protected from injury, we use resistance to create and maintain muscle mass and bone health, but the benefits don’t stop there. So, take a look at the detailed Harvard study below and then give us a call to get a free consultation about how to get started, or re-energized on the road to your best health. The best time to start is always now.
Strength Training Builds More Than Muscles
Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School – 3/6/12 Most of us know that strength training (with free weights, weight machines, or resistance bands) can help build and maintain muscle mass and strength. What many of us don’t know is that strong muscles lead to strong bones. And strong bones can help minimize the risk of fracture due to osteoporosis.
A combination of age-related changes, inactivity, and poor nutrition conspire to steal bone mass at the rate of 1% per year after age 40. As bones grow more fragile and susceptible to fracture, they are more likely to break after even a minor fall or a far less obvious stress, such as bending over to tie a shoelace.
Osteoporosis should be a concern for all of us. Eight million women and two million men in the United States have osteoporosis. It is now responsible for more than two million fractures a year, and experts expect that number will rise. Hip fractures are usually the most serious. Six out of 10 people who break a hip never fully regain their former level of independence. Even walking across a room without help may be impossible.
Numerous studies have shown that strength training can play a role in slowing bone loss, and several show it can even build bone. This is tremendously useful to help offset age-related decline in bone mass. Activities that put stress on bones stimulate extra deposits of calcium and nudge bone-forming cells into action. The tugging and pushing on bone that occur during strength training (and weight-bearing aerobic exercise like walking or running) provide the stress. The result is stronger, denser bones.
And strength training has bone benefits beyond those offered by aerobic weight-bearing exercise. It targets bones of the hips, spine, and wrists, which, along with the ribs, are the sites most likely to fracture. What’s more, resistance workouts—particularly those that include moves emphasizing power and balance—enhance strength and stability. That can boost confidence, encourage you to stay active, and reduce fractures by cutting down on falls.
Strength training will provide significant functional benefits and improvement in overall health and well-being including increased bone, muscle, tendon and ligament strength and toughness and reduced potential for injury. In addition, the increased presence of muscle tissue improves overall metabolic function, especially when at rest. This means that by increasing your lean body mass, through strength training, you can burn more calories per day than with aerobic exercise alone.
It is important to learn how to properly implement appropriate strength exercises to avoid injury and plateaus. Basic to all exercise programs is your body needs to function well mechanically to avoid injury while you execute your tailored training plan. Strength training should be organized and planned in advance for best results. It has to be goal specific, simple and most importantly flexible as its content can be modified to meet your rate of progress. At PHASE IV we begin with a head to toe structural analysis exam and body composition analysis which will focus on the best way to achieve these important prerequisites before building your individual strength program.
METABOLIC AND STRUCTURAL HEALTH
Metabolic testing is the starting point for all science based nutrition and exercise programs designed to achieve optimum health and body weight. The Resting Metabolic Rate test measures precisely how many calories your body requires to keep your metabolism revving and burning more calories all day.The VO2 test measures your metabolic efficiency: at what heart rate you stop burning fat for fuel. A metabolism that relies on carbohydrate for energy throughout the day is often the cause of fatigue, weight gain, an a condition known as metabolic syndrome.
The human physiological structure is the most magnificent creation on earth. The systems that keep us alive, healthy and fit require movement. "Use it or loose it," is the truth; but the right movement at the right times, with the correct intensity, is a prescription for health.
The Forster Structure Program is the corner stone of every exercise and training program at PHASE IV. It is a global fitness program that is uniquely designed to build functional joint stability, range of motion, flexibility and strength in phases; overtime, to not only prevent injury, but to address old injuries and imbalances that have occurred throughout life.
PHASE IV is a governed by Master Physical Therapists and Exercise Physiologists who have dedicated their lives to understanding how the body works, and how to empower you to reach your goals with less effort and more support than you imagine.