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| Home Organize Your Wellness The Organized Good Life Have You Found the Fitness Fountain of Youth?
Living the Good LifeHave You Found the Fitness Fountain of Youth?
Ponce de Leon never found the fountain of youth. Neither will you. Unless you define 'youth' as being of clear mind, able body and strong spirit as you age - at any age. Physical fitness has been shown to aid all three.
Unless you are Ponce de Leon, locating the fountain of youth has been as evasive as reaching the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. If however you define youthfulness as the ability to function independently in your old age, then lifting weights is one of the fountains of youth. Another is flexibility training such as yoga and still another is cardiovascular training to keep the heart young. This article will address the Weight Training Fountain.
Research has shown that a seventy-year-old sedentary person will have lost forty percent of muscle mass and thirty percent on strength in their muscles causing 40% of adults over the age of 65 to fall on average once a year. Although this may not sound like a big deal, you may be thinking from a young person’s standpoint of falling. Falls are the leading cause of fatal injuries in the plus 75 age group. Lack of muscular strength leads to problems with the simplest of tasks such as walking and standing up from a sitting position. Daily activities we take for granted such bathing or shopping become treacherous.
Muscle mass is lost as one grows older due to atrophy which is a decrease in the number and size of muscle fibers. Scientists believe that the decrease in the number of muscle fibers is genetic and, therefore, is an inevitable effect of aging. However, the decrease in muscle fiber size is due to inactivity and can be reversed by weight training.
Young people are the typical ones you see in the gyms lifting weights but in actuality, the over fifty demographic are the people who need to lift weights the most. Even ninety-year-olds can lift weights; they just may need to modify the amount of weight they are lifting.
To really appreciate the value of lifting weights as a method to find youth and maintain quality of life, one need only to read the study on strength training for the elderly done in 1990 by Tufts University researchers in a nursing home for the aged. The study was composed of ten participants (six women and four men) who were frail ninety-year-olds.
After eight weeks of lifting weights three times a week, the researchers were amazed at the findings.
• Leg strength had increased by 174%.
Some tips for starting on your quest to a more youthful, higher quality of life are:
1. Get a medical clearance
Lifting weights is not just for the young, it is for anyone and more importantly is for the aging adult who wishes to stay young and healthy. There is no reason to settle into the twilight years in a decrepit state where you cannot take care of yourself, barring an illness. Many illnesses however can be kept at bay of you simply take care of yourself now. Ponce de Leon had his fountain of youth, now you have yours!
By Christina Leon, Staff Writer