Strength training is for everyone. Strength is for everyone and is available to everyone. Getting stronger for adults is not about how much you can squat or bench it is about interacting with your environment better and more easily. Almost everyone knows that exercise is important for good health. It can decrease the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and blood pressure issues. Additionally, it can cut the mortality rate of breast cancer, lower colon cancer risk and drop the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by a third. It also decreases depression. In short, being active is good for us as humans but as I said most people already knows this but very few people achieve the level activity recommended to reap these benefits.
Knowledge versus Actions.
There is a difference in having the head knowledge and putting it into action. I am a fan of Dave Ramsey and his principles have helped my family get out of debt and become financially stable. Dave likes to say concerning money “Personal finance is 80% behavior and 20% head knowledge.” This is a huge lightning bolt of insight into human behavior and motivation. He is not saying that knowledge isn’t important, he is saying there are plenty of people who know WHAT to do and still DON’T DO IT. This is true for health and fitness as well. Most people know exercise and diet are important for their long term health but still do not follow that knowledge up with the behavior of exercise and watching what they eat.
Education does have some effect and more and more people are beginning to understand the importance of strength training as a part of their physical activity. However, I bet most still do not knows strength training reduces arthritis pain and stiffness; improves flexibility, helps fight diabetes; increases bone density and decreases the risk of falls. Even fewer understand that strength training is good for your heart. The heart is a muscle and strength training will help the heart muscle also. It reduces cardiovascular risk, helps fight obesity and improves back pain as well.
Let’s get to the HEART of the issue
Strength is not as important in today’s world as it used to be, by that I say you can “survive” in today’s world being weak. But strength is more important than most people realize and strength training can help you thrive, enjoy life and remain independent as you age. The Squat is functional if you cannot even get off the toilet without help.
Here is a link to research showing how much strength is required for doing basic daily activities and it’s important for patients who have had a heart attack.
But if we know it helps the heart why wait till you had an attack when we know strength training can help decrease the likely hood of having one. Just opening the door to the cardiac rehab facility requires 15.5lbs of force and yet some hearth attack patience’s are told not to lift more than 10lbs. It takes 36lbs to push a lawn mower and I am sure more if your lawn is not perfectly level. Strength can give you freedom, freedom to move your body, interact with your environment and enjoy life. Playing golf, hiking, going for a walk, picking up your grandchild, carrying in groceries, gardening and attending sporting events/climbing bleachers or stairs and getting off the toilet by yourself are all things that require strength. Strength gives you freedom.
This paper has been around since 2006 and here are some of the subtitles 1. Resistance Training Improves Patients’ Quality of Life” 2. Activities of Daily Living Require More Strength Than Most People Realize.” 3. Resistance Training has now been shown to be effective in Reducing Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease”. 4. Under the Supervision of Experienced Personnel, Resistance Training is Safe.”
Behavior versus Knowledge
However as we know from Dave Ramsey just knowing that strength and strength training are important for overall health and heart health does not make people change their behavior. There has to be something that causes people to say “Enough is enough” and make a change. My 75 year mother with double knee replacement had that moment in late 2018. You can read her detailed story at this link.
YOU GOTTA HAVE HEART
We need to remove obstacles to get people strength training. My mom like many other people was unsure on what to do, where to start, and didn’t want to do it wrong. This typically results in no action at all. My mother had to be shown what to do. Also, it had to be easy to begin with and progress. We started with her doing sit to stands out of a tall chair without using her hands. Doing a hip hinge by sliding her hands down her leg and doing an overhead press with a 3lb dumbbell. Since then she has progressed to a squat of 5 reps with 75lbs. a deadlift of 170lbs. and a Landmine press of 26lbs for 3 reps. Please check out the link if you want a more detailed description of her progression.
Another obstacle is not wanting to go to a gym or workout in public. I knew my mother would have to drive 37 miles to the nearest gym and the likely hood of her continuing this was very low. We overcame this by using very little equipment while building the habit of strength training. It is important to build the habit of training, this was new to her daily routine and had to become part of her day. This is like creating the monthly budget on the Dave Ramsey plan. As we built her habit of training we also built up her home gym. Finding a way for her to train at home removed the obstacle of time and worry about training in public. She would video her last set of each exercise and send them to me. I provide her coaching comments and prescribe her next work sets reps and intensity.
I have heard Dave Ramsey give a projection of a retirement account many times on his show and he will show that even if you are off by as much as half you can still become wealthy even if you are making mistakes. This is true in strength training as well. Many people fear doing something wrong and thus do nothing. This is the wrong. You are better off getting moving and getting started. The best thing you can do for your heart is start. If you are ready to start you may reach out to me to receive coaching and direction. As a professional I can help you with the details (we hire financial professionals to help with our retirement, medical professionals to help us when we are sick and dentist to take care of our teeth. Why would we not hire a professional to help build strength and maintain or improve our health and function as we age? I can help you grow and build your physical retirement account or physiological 401k. Just getting started with something is better than nothing at all
It takes heart to start.
I am reminded of an Arthur Ashe quotes “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” It can seem daunting but you just need to get started with whatever you can do.
Reach out if you would like to begin your strength journey