Thursday, 20 September 2007

Life Fit Chat with Laura Lewis: Create a little resistance in your life

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Life Fit Chat with That's Fit Life Fit Expert Laura Lewis brings conversation provoking tidbits to your table, served up with a touch of spice! Byte-sized information that pack some punch, brought to you every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday!

Did you know ... The easiest way to keep your metabolism revved, improve the health of your heart and lungs, keep your bones strong and healthy, and to keep your mind sharp is to create a little resistance in your life!

Resistance training is also known as strength or weight training, The importance of aerobic exercise and how it relates to health has been emphasized dramatically over the past two decades with resistance training taking a back seat ... until the American College of Sports Medicine actually set up guidelines for balanced fitness. Balanced fitness includes regular aerobic exercise at least three times per week for a minimum of thirty minutes, in addition to two resistance-training sessions of moderate intensity per week.

A study was conducted in Sweden in 1971 that compared the bone strength of professional and world-class athletes, recreational athletes, and folks who just did not exercise at all. They were divided into groups according to the type of exercises performed. The exercises included running, swimming, weight lifting, and soccer. The professionals had stronger bones than the recreational and non-exercising groups. The recreational group had stronger bones than the inactive group. And guess who had the strongest bones of all: the weight lifters!

Structure in flux ... Our bones are not dead material. Old bone cells are constantly dying and new ones are being created. As we get older, especially as we get on up to our senior years, bone loss, or osteoporosis, is common and is mostly due to lessened activity levels. The typical pattern: We get older, a little stiffer and less mobile. Therefore, less force is placed upon the bones, making them weaker. The results of the Swedish study and many others that followed have concluded that some form of resistance training will make your bones stronger, even when you are in your eighties!

Not just for bones ... Aerobic exercise is commonly known to lead to improved heart health and function. New research suggests weightlifting alone promotes healthy hearts. Harvard University researchers studied the role different types of exercise play on heart disease risk. Among more than 44,000 men who participated in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, those who lifted weights for thirty minutes or more, at least once a week, showed cardiac risk reduction of 23 percent.

"GET" those hormones revved ... We lose muscle mass as we age due to reduction in circulating hormones that facilitate the building of muscle. Anabolic hormones make our muscles strong and reduce body fat. The top three hormones that decline dramatically throughout our life cycle are: growth hormones, estrogen and testosterone (GET hormones). The GET hormones skyrocketed when you were in your teens and gave you that youthful feeling. You GET excited, energized and happy when these hormones are at an all-time high! Our body naturally produces these hormones, yet, for some reason, they diminish as we age. Keeping hormones at a more youthful level is possible. Resistance exercise has been shown to increase the magical GET mix of hormones leading to an increase in your lean muscle. Fat stores are reduced too, regardless of your age.

So, put a little resistance in your life and enjoy a stronger bones, more muscle mass and more energy!
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