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Weight Training And Its Effect On Aging - What Research Shows
Everyone gets older. How you get older is up to you.
The Research: In 1994, Dr. Miriam Nelson and other researchers from Tufts University uncovered unexpected results from a study performed with women in their 50's and 60's. These women were given a weight lifting program to perform twice a week, one half hour each time. The women did not alter their diets or try to lose weight during the study.
The Results: After one year, measurements of the women's lean muscle mass, cardiovascular fitness, coordination and bone density were comparable to younger women in their 30's and early 40's! In addition, the women dropped one or two dress sizes (again without dieting). Beyond the researchers' wildest predictions, the women were able to turn back the clock 15 to 20 years, just by lifting weights twice a week! Comparable results were not found with aerobic training or walking.
Prior to the Tufts University research, it was thought that frailty was an inevitable part of getting old. If you think of it, we do not normally associate heart disease or clogged arteries with our images of old age --generally we see in our mind's eye a wobbly woman, leaning forward, walking with a hesitant gait, no muscle tone, brittle bones . . . Sadly, many women curtail their activities as they get older, precisely because they fear losing balance, falling and breaking a bone. Remember the commercial - "I've fallen and I can't get up!", depicting a poor pathetic older woman who was fortunate to have purchased an electronic, emergency notification device to wear around her neck. Life does not have to get this way.
Many studies since the Tufts University Research confirm, if you lift weights, there is no reason to "slow down" as you get older; it is in fact possible to remain vibrant and active throughout your entire life span.
The Conclusion: You decide how you want your future to be. If you are not already following a consistent weight training program, consider doing so now.
Strong Women Stay Young, M. Nelson, S. Wernick (Bantam 1997).
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