Simply put, you’re stronger and can do more.
Muscle tissue is dense in Mitochondria. Strong muscles increase our mitochondria’s density and size, which helps produce more energy for us.
Most people think building muscles is for the beach, but the benefits are far more significant and diverse than looking good in a bathing suit.
An increase in muscle cross-section means more force development. At the same time, you will see an increase in tendon density, cross-section, and stiffness.
Added muscle also is the only way to permanently raise our basal metabolic rate, which means we burn more calories at rest.
Additionally, more muscle tissue helps us improve insulin resistance, giving us a higher tolerance for carbohydrate consumption.
Studies have consistently shown strength training to reverse osteoporosis and osteopenia by increasing bone matrix density.
(This adaptation is specific, so be sure to engage with a whole-body program, preferably using free weights)
The adaptations are not just to the muscular-skeletal system.
When you squat or deadlift heavy (the term heavy is relative to the individual), you briefly drive blood pressure up, which causes several beneficial adaptations. Over time we see heart rate decrease during cardio output and pulmonary efficiency increase.
As we age, we produce less and less of the hormones that made us healthy and vital in our youth, insulin-like growth factor, human growth hormone, and testosterone (women make 1/40th that of men, but they still needed it). Again lifting has been shown to aid in slowing the decline of these essential hormones.
Good news! When you squat and deadlift heavy things, your body generates a massive amount of these beneficial hormones.
IGF1 and HGH also have been shown to have neuroprotective effects as well!
What’s the takeaway?
All of the items listed above increase your resistance to disease and injury, permit and promote an active lifestyle, compresses the morbidity of aging – pushing out the onset of decrepitude and improving the quality of life for years to come.
Every time we strength train, we are banking muscle tissue for the future.
The earlier you start, the better, but it’s never too late!
Interested in how to use strength training to avoid the pitfalls of aging? Learn more about our over 50 Master’s programs.
Talk to a coach; it’s free!