Why Strength First
When many of us hear the word fitness, we think cardio fitness, that is, heart health and activities like walking and jogging. While cardio fitness is important, we should never forget the critical role of strength training.
Due to a combination of hormonal, lifestyle, and neuromuscular factors, as we pass 50 years of age, we experience a loss of muscle mass. The scientific name for it is sarcopenia. Loss of muscle mass can result in inability to perform everyday tasks, thus restricting options for work and play, and, ultimately, leads to frailty and falls.
Fortunately, this condition is something we can greatly slow, even reverse, with resistance training. Many Boomers, especially women, associate strength with bulked up body builders. This is unfortunate because effective strength training has little to do with lifting huge barbells in a gym, and few Boomers need fear ever looking like Conan the Barbarian because that option, even for men, passed decades ago.
At Cascade Boomer Fitness, our focus on functional strength, the kind that enables a long, independent life. While improving strength always entails some effort, we achieve it with exercises using our own body weight or a variety of inexpensive tools like bands, tubes, stability balls, and dumbbells. Our focus is on all the muscles in your body, not just the ones visible in the mirror.
Of course we also need to maintain all our other physical abilities – cardio, balance, agility, flexibility. But all of these begin with a solid foundation of overall body strength.
Once the decision is made to improve strength, if has been a while since you did resistance exercises, you need to start slowly to get your muscle motor units re-adapted to resistance challenges. Resist the temptation to start trying to do too much, too fast, which can result in too much muscle soreness or, worse case, an unnecessary injury.
What’s cool is that within a few weeks of commencing regular strength training 2-3 times a week, you will feel and see results as you go about your daily life. You’ll be surprised what you are capable of. You are younger than you think.