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As we reach our 50’s retaining strength for daily living becomes a vital boomer issue. Even if you have been inactive it’s not too late to start.
Studies show women in their 90’s had a marked increased in strength level.
And strength training does more than make you strong.
Strength Training Benefits for Women
- Improved appearance
- Increased lean muscle mass
Improved strength and power
Increased functional fitness in older women
Improved glucose tolerance
Improved balance and gait in older women.
Better Body Image
Body Fat & Weight Control(25 Year Old - 25%
65 Year Old - 43% Body Fat)
Normal Body Fat Range: 22-30%
- Muscle tone(Increase lean muscle mass & metabolic
Loss of muscle mass
30%-40% of muscle cells are lost between age 20- 70. BMR slows down as we age due to reduced muscle mass, resulting in fewer calories being burned. Weight resistance can reverse this process.
Strength Training Benefits for Women
- Lack of Exercise: Bones without regular exercise are greatly at risk.
- Weight bearing and resistance exercise can help maintain bone mass and may promote bone growth.
- Recent studies have suggested that weight-bearing exercise can help prevent bone loss and may actually encourage bone growth.
- Tennis players have thicker bones in the radius of the dominant arm versus the nondominant arm. (Huddleston AL, et, al: Jama 244:1107-1109, l980)
“The optimal program for older women would include activities that improve strength, flexibility, and coordination[which] may indirectly but effectively decrease the incidence osteoporotic fractures by lessening the likelihood of falling.”(ACSM Statement on Osteoporosis & Exercise 1995)
Diagnosing Osteoporosis:Bone Density
Test (DEXA) World Health Organization
Compares an individual’s bone density with the peak value for a healthy young adult. This comparison is based on standard deviations (SD)
- a measure of how far a person is below “normal”. 10-15% decrease in bone density from the young adult value = 1SD.
- A bone density measurement at any site more than 2.5 SD (approx. 25-35%) indicates osteoporosis
- bone density that falls between 1 & 2.5 SD is called osteopenia.
Strength training helps to lower risk for diabetes because it helps to regulate glucose metabolism. Working muscles require the energy delivered by glucose to keep it going. Too much body fat and too little muscle can cause an impaired ability to make insulin.
Gender Differences in Strength
When training levels are similar for men and women, the absolute amount of muscle mass account for strength differences.
Women participate less in upper body weight resistance activities
The average woman has 50% less strength than the average men in their upper body.
25-30% less strength compared to men in their lower body.
Dispelling the Myths: Effects of Strength Training on Women
“My muscles will get big and bulky”
There will be a small increase in muscle mass but because women have low
testosterone levels they will have much less muscle mass.
“Women can’t increase muscle strength as much as men.”
Studies have shown that strength gains for women are at least as much as men-in some cases even more because of women having lower initial strength levels.
? A woman’s strength program should be less rigorous than one designed for a man.
Untrue: the same principles apply both to men as to women: low repetitions and high resistance for strength and power; high repetitions and low resistance for muscle toning and endurance.
Weight Machines VS Free Weights
Benefits - Safe, easy to use, works all major muscles, minimal skill required.
Weaknesses - High cost, limited amount of exercises, and restricted movement.
- Variety of exercises, low cost, copies true movements, develops balance posture and skilled movement.
Weaknesses: Less safe, requires more skill, and spotters.
Do’s & Don’ts
Always breath out on the exertion Breath holding can elevate blood pressure.
- Never use a resistance that’s so heavy you can’t lift at least 8 repetitions.
Each set should be at least 8-16 reps,
no more than 16 reps.
- Warm-up: Flexibility Training (slow dynamic movement)
- At least one exercise for each major muscle group
- Exercise larger groups, then, smaller
- Perform each exercise through full range of joint movement emphasizing completely contracted position
Stretch out muscles worked (include posture & balance exercises)
- 30 minutes -1 hr weight resistance training, 2-3x per week (every other day)
Each exercise, 1-2 sets, of 8-16 reps
Use RPE scale to determine how much weight one should use.
Weights: Depends on body size and strength levels. Beginners often start with 1-4 lbs & elastic tubing/bands if not ready for heavier weights.
Muscle Endurance: To sustain muscular movement. (lower weight, more reps)
- Muscle Strength: The power or force that can be exerted by the muscles.
Muscle contractions: Definitions
- Concentric: Shortening of the muscles a result of the contraction of that muscle. (Bicep curl on the up movement.)
- Eccentric: A lengthening of the muscle during its contraction. (Bicep curl on the down movement.)
- Isometric: A muscle contraction in which the muscle length is unchanged.
Isokinetic: A muscle contraction with controlled speed, allowing maximal
force to be applied throughout range of motion.
- Isotonic: Contraction in which the force of the muscle is greater than the resistance resulting from joint movement with shortening or lengthening of the muscle.