How & Why to Be Strong – Part 3
CBFers build strength in every class. Sure, we frequently work on flexibility, cardio, agility and coordination, too. But strength is top priority because it is so crucial to maintain a high level of functionality in your everyday life, for all your life.
It is well-known that the older (especially 50+) we get, the faster muscle mass declines, along with control of muscles. Fortunately, there is a growing body of scientific research showing that strength training (resistance exercise) can substantially slow this process. As documented by Dr. Signorile, PhD, in his book Bending the Aging Curve: “Resistance training can counteract the loss in muscle tissue and the decrease in neural control that occurs with aging.”
Here’s what strength training does that keeps your muscles younger:
- Increases the size of muscle fibers, in particular Type II (more on this in our next blog) which are necessary to generate power.
- Increases the firing rate of motor nerves, meaning muscles perform faster and generate more force, enabling agile and coordinated movements.
- Improves the ability of motor units (muscles fibers work in groups) to recruit other motor units to meet increased demands. Think when you screw off a bottle cap; if two fingers won’t twist it, the more powerful wrist muscles get involved.
- Increases calcium flow in the muscles, which enables muscles to contract quickly and forcefully, then relax, characteristic of “young” muscle.
- Increases the presence of satellite cells that allow muscles to repair themselves quicker and increase in size. Satellite cells are at work when you feel that soreness the next day following a workout, and ultimately turn into more muscle mass.
For these reasons, we do frequent and intense strength training.
It’s not always fun, but it’s always beneficial.