By: Rebecca Ramdeholl, C.H.N.C.
Most women my age have a love/hate relationship with themselves right now. If you’re approaching 40, already there, or beyond, you might come to recognize that your body is just….tired. It’s like you woke up one morning, and suddenly, that cheeseburger doesn’t sit so well in your belly. You’re suddenly more aware of the location of washrooms in case you have a laugh or a sneeze. Your concentration and memory has disappeared – probably slipped into your growing fetuses. Such is the sacrifice of motherhood. Losing weight is just a bit harder nowadays to lose.
While you might even have made peace with your body, and have nurtured a f**k you attitude towards dieting and societal expectations of beauty, you do miss wearing your favorite jeans occasionally. You know which one I’m talking about….that perfect pair that made you feel like a sex goddess, and you lovingly tucked it away in a closet in the hopes that you can fit it into it again someday. You don’t want to be a body builder (it's awesome if you do, though), and you’re not at all interested in being the toothpick you once were pre-kids, pre-marriage, pre-real life. You just want to….perk up a little.
You hate the idea of joining a gym.
Who’s got room or the cash for super-fancy equipment?!
An awesome solution to this conundrum is doing something that we totally hate, but our bodies absolutely love! Lifting weights.
Want to know why I recommend lifting weights (a.k.a. “resistance training”) for people of all ages?
If you're under the age of 50 it's important to have a good muscle mass because we start to lose up to 1% muscle mass per year after that. That's up to 30% loss by the time you're 80! I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been afraid of those poor little old ladies who looked so frail and hunched over, that you’re afraid to even shake their hand.
And you can lose your muscle strength even faster than 1% per year.
So, the more muscle mass you have before age 50, the better off you'll be.
If you're over the age of 50, the more you lift weights, the slower your rate of loss will be. Why settle for 1% loss, when you can keep your strength even longer? I personally have the goal to end up as Super Gran. It’s an old British TV show I used to watch as a kid, where a little old lady was a secret superhero and her power was strength, and flexibility and super vision. She was so awesome.
So you can have more muscle AND slow down the rate of muscle loss by lifting weights at all ages.
Lifting weights is not just about muscle “mass” and “strength” though. It's a great way to maintain good health for just about everyone at any age, whether you're athletic or not.
What exactly do I mean by “good health”? This is where the “perking” up can start to happen. These five key health factors all improve with increased muscle mass, and therefore, “perks” you up and you start to feel unbeatable.
REASON #1 – BOOSTS YOUR METABOLISM
Yes! We all want a nice, healthy metabolism, don't we? We want to have energy, and be able to burn the right amount of calories from our foods.
Guess what your muscles can do, even when they're not working...burn calories!
And with healthy, strong muscles (like the kind you get from lifting weights), the more calories they burn. Even while you sleep!
Not only that, but less muscle mass is associated with increased fat stores, as well as increased inflammation.
So, lifting weights can build up your muscles so they become more efficient metabolism-boosters, calorie burners, as well as less fat storage and inflammation.
REASON #2 – STRENGTH TO DO EVERYDAY THINGS
Lifting your groceries.
Mowing your lawn.
Carrying things up from the basement.
All of these are everyday things that help us maintain our independence. They're things that we can do on our own without needing extra help when we have healthy muscles to rely on.
Lifting weights can help reduce our risk of becoming dependent on others for everyday tasks. Let’s keep it real, when we start relying on others for everyday matters, people start getting into your business! And that’s a sure way to lose your independence. So lift weights to keep them away! : )
REASON #3 – MANAGING YOUR BLOOD SUGAR
When your body has trouble maintaining healthy amounts of sugar in your blood, this can cause both short- and long-term issues.
Short-term issues can include things like fatigue and brain fog. And, of course, long-term issues are the potential for insulin resistance, or even diabetes.
And, you'll never guess what can help your body maintain proper blood sugar control…healthy strong muscles!
They do this because they can store and burn excess blood sugar, therefore helping to keep blood sugar levels in just the right place.
REASON #4 – MAINTAINING BONE HEALTH
Do you know anyone who has broken a bone?
What about someone who broke their hip?
As you may know, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men end up with osteoporosis. Bones that break easily, from a simple slip on soft grass or even carpet.
But did you also know that your bones can stay strong when your muscles stay strong?
When your muscles pull on the bones to move you around, the bones get the message that they're important, and so your friendly bone-building cells actively keep making strong healthy bones.
This doesn't happen so much when muscles aren't pulling on them. When the muscles get weaker from lack of use, the bones follow suit.
Not to mention the fact that weight lifting improves balance and reduces the risk of falling, both of which reduce risk of breaking bones.
REASON #5 – LONGER LIFE, BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE
Fact: More muscle mass and strength as we age is directly associated with longer life AND better quality of life.
What do I mean by “quality of life”? I mean lower rates of heart disease, cancer, mental disorders, etc. I mean being healthy, independent, and keeping your mental sharpness. All of those are huge factors when it comes to quality of life. You do NOT want to be dying slowly over a decade, in and out of hospitals when you could be healthy enough to enjoy every second of your life.
Lifting weights can help stave off all those conditions, so you can truly have a healthy, long life.
You can (and probably should) lift weights to maintain good health. And when I say “good health”, I mean things like maintaining your metabolism, strength to do everyday things, and keeping your blood sugar and bones healthy. Not to mention living longer...and better. And maybe getting back into your favorite jeans!
So let's lift stuff!
P.S. Here’s some stuff you can try and lift – no gym membership here!
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