How exercise will enable you achieve your goals in business and in life:
We are all busy people, either at work or in our home lives. Is it worth fitting in the extra burden of exercise into your day, when time is already so precious?
The year 2020 and the lockdown period has made it really clear that the importance of exercise (especially strength training), is crucial for people’s well-being and ability to cope with life in general. After the 10 week lockdown in Melbourne, when clients began to return to our clinic, what was really clear was the amount of strength they had lost. The aches and pains that had returned and most worryingly, the number of new injuries had increased because they were not able to cope with the physical demands of life as well as they could when they were stronger.
There are 3 very important aspects that fitness training, especially strength training can bring that’s worthwhile for busy professionals:
1) Effects your energy levels and your ability to cope with everyday life:
When we assess people initially, the most common finding is that clients, especially women over 30 are just not strong enough. Strength training has not been a priority in their life, even in their fitness training (if they run or go to the gym). You need good strength, especially in the major postural muscles around the back, hips, pelvis and shoulder blades to be able to perform most activities well that are required in life.
Prolonged Sitting, driving, or picking things up from the floor require good strength around the lower back and stabilizing muscles to control the position of the lower back. The strong muscles around the hips, pelvis and the gluteal muscle groups hold you there for long periods of time and help to get you out of these positions. If these muscles are not strong enough, these activities are harder then they should be. These areas become vulnerable to injury because of the muscles doing the work, extra load is taken on weaker structures (such as the discs in the lower back) which can cause injury.
I often hear from clients ”I’m just getting older”, which is just not true. Although there is some increase in the decline of strength after the age of 65, even at that age, a majority of lose of strength is due to lack of training, not due to age.
2) Effects your overall health
Although there are many benefits of overall strength training, 2 very specific ones are:
• Improvement in glucose management – Improving your muscle mass improves your ability to metabolise glucose. Muscles have sensors on their surface, called GLUT4, which are responsible to pulling glucose from the blood stream and bringing it into the muscle cells. The more muscle mass you have, not only are there more of these sensors, but each cell has more sensors and they work more efficiently. This is a major step in reducing insulin resistance and preventing diabetes.
• Improvements in brain health – Strength training is one of the few activities that has actually been proven to prevent decline in brain function as you get older. In a study, those who lifted weight at least once a week showed significant improvements in cognitive function, such as attention. It seems to be because strength training releases several chemicals into the brain, such as BDNF, which improve the health of nerves and brain cells and has a protective effect on the cardiovascular system.
3) The key to managing your weight
It is very easy to underestimate the role of strength training in managing your weight. Although the usual thinking is that to manage your weight, cardio training is important, this is just not true.
Your weight is controlled by a combination of what you eat and your metabolic rate (how much energy you use). The only aspect of your metabolic rate that you can control is your muscle mass. The more muscle mass you have, the more energy you use doing the everyday tasks in life, such as walking, sitting, eating and even sleeping. Improving your muscle mass is a multiplier of your metabolic rate and the key to sustainable weight loss.
Although cardio training is important, it should be seen as an addition to your training, to be most effective. For example if you run 30 minutes a day, that is equivalent to the energy in just over 1 Mars bar, with no additional effects. Strength training increases you overall energy expenditure so that even that same 30 minute run, if more effective and uses more energy.
Start now, it is never too late or too early to start strength training, your body will thank you for it. Although it takes about 3 months to really see the benefits, we recommend 2-3 times a week, of a good, structured overall strengthening program. Your body and mind will thank you for it every day.
Want to know more?
If you would like more information or have any questions about strength training and maintaining a good exercise routine to achieve your goals please comment below!
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