WHAT does physical strength mean to you?
Being able to carry the groceries? Being able to move furniture? Being able to pick up the grandkids or "carry your husband" like you've done for the past 30-plus years?
Is physical strength a thing of your past that has dwindled as the years have gone by?
Physical strength is one area of health and fitness that is often overlooked by older adults.
We talk about fitness, stretching and balance, but strength exercises provide so many other benefits.
This article is aimed in particular at strength training for older women (however it is just as important for men and the information is the same).
As we age we lose muscle density (the thickness of our muscles).
As this density decreases it causes our metabolic rate (the rate we burn energy) to slow down.
This results in a tendency to gain body fat and it all starts from as early as our 20s.
In a nutshell, decreased muscle density = lower metabolic rate = gain in body fat + brittle bones + unstable joints + loss of strength + loss of stamina + loss of confidence.
Research has proven that starting a strength- training program will reverse all of this.
Strength training could be body weight exercises, eg. squats, push-ups or yoga, or it could be equipment- based using therabands, hand weights or equipment you would find in a health club.
At our club we have a large range of older adults who attend classes or do a program that has been designed for them, two to three times a week.
About 99% of the participants in these classes are women.
These women know that to reduce their body fat, improve their muscle density, bone density, stamina and confidence they need to attend these classes and/or do their programs.
They are guided, supported and educated on the benefits of strength training and they reap the rewards.
They are strong, empowered and, dare I say, sexy women who love what they've lost and adore what they've gained.
They know that what they do is one of the best investments they can make for their health and fitness.
They have found their Mrs Hercules and carry themselves with pride.