Smile Now, Pay Later | How Lifting Weights Is The Best Insurance Policy

Lifting weights is the best insurance policy to living well

It’s easy to find reasons not to stay in shape and why lifting weights is not your thing. Let’s face it, in today’s society we’re all busy with something. Whether it’s your career, family life, or a demanding social schedule, competing interests for time will always be a challenge unless you’re willing to make excuses as to why your personal health is too valuable to overlook.

The other day I was confronted by a friend in his early 30’s who’s got a budding career in financial services, use to be an athlete, but has since gotten away from fitness and has gained about 40 pounds since getting married about four years ago.

He asked “why exactly should I care about lifting weights and my personal health, when there are constant medical breakthroughs curing various illnesses and disorders? Let’s face it, we’re all going to die sometime, so why not just spend my time doing what I want”

His question/ comment is an attitude common in today’s society, focused on instant gratification and the belief that a magic pill will cure any potential ailments that develop. It’s beliefs like these that has society transforming into nation of obesity, where stomach rolls, love handles and feeling out of breath after climbing a flight of stairs is the norm.

When taken only at face value, it’s easy to see why lifting weights is the butt of so many jokes. Along with being viewed as self-indulgent, if not downright narcissistic, there is an inherent absurdity to the act of repeatedly lifting heavy objects over and over again.

So what is the point of this painful, time-consuming lifestyle? If the whole “looking good naked” part is evident, what are the not-so-obvious benefits that adults – specifically those of us that are fast approaching middle age – should consider before writing off the endeavor as a fool’s game for the young and insecure?

Glad you asked. Here’s why lifting weights is the only insurance policy you should not be living without, and why you should care not about living longer, but living well.

It keeps your bones healthy

Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to lose their density over time, leaving those who are afflicted at high risk for fractures. According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, one out of four Canadian women over the age of 50 will suffer an osteoporotic fracture. The stats are slightly better – one in eight – for Canadian men of the same age group. Approximately 30,000 of these incidents are hip fractures, a number that’s expected to quadruple by 2030.

For years we’ve been told that calcium is the key to preventing osteoporosis, this despite the fact that Canadians, per capita, have been drinking an average of 81 litres of milk since 1997. Turns out the real bone-strengthening hero is iron, though we’re talking about the kind you lift rather than ingest. Dozens of studies have proven that resistance training such as lifting weights, not only increases bone density, but also minimizes other risk factors for osteoporosis by improving strength, balance and muscle mass.

It keeps your muscles from wasting away

Sarcopenia is the fancy medical term for the involuntary loss of muscle tissue that naturally occurs as we age. A sort of cousin to osteoporosis, sarcopenia can begin as early as your 40s, though it’s more common in seniors. Once it starts, the downward slope gets steeper each year; it’s not uncommon for those in their 80s to have lost as much as 50 per cent of their muscle mass due to this condition.

The impact of sarcopenia can be downright sinister: loss of motor function, rheumatoid arthritis (a chronic and painful inflammation of the joints) and insulin resistance (a common precursor to Type 2 diabetes) are but a few of the effects. Scientists aren’t sure what exactly causes this deterioration – a host of issues are believed to be blamed, from cellular dysfunction to low levels of certain hormones – but they all agree on the treatment. As with osteoporosis, resistance training has been proven to not only slow down the onset of sarcopenia, it can actually reverse the effects.

There’s a clear commonality in the effects of sarcopenia and osteoporosis: both conditions can reduce one’s quality of life as they age by limiting mobility, making everyday tasks painful and potentially dangerous. A strong and muscular body acts as insurance against slips and falls, making our bones more resilient and our movements more stable, meaning we can keep doing the things we love to do for as long as possible.

Of course, the most effective way to combat these ailments of aging is to maximize your muscle mass in the years before their onset, mitigating the inevitable losses that are to come. If you’re in your 30s and you haven’t started lifting, now’s the time.

Key point – if you’re reading this article and haven’t given proper attention to living well, versus living long, perhaps it’s time to start investing in yourself and stop making excuses why you don’t have enough time. Don’t wait until osteoporosis and sarcopenia have set in.

Fitness We Deliver provides at home personal training and a member of our team would be happy to develop a custom at home workout program specific to your needs and provide the expertise and motivation to help you learn how to strengthen and tone your physique, through lifting weights and other strength training exercises. Contact us today to learn how we can assist.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *