If you had to think of the single best example of what the epitome is of exercise as a way to longevity, it would have to be Jack LaLanne. I can’t recall why, but his name came up in a conversation not too long ago, and I was taken aback by the fact that the man is still alive and kicking… at 95!
And Jack isn’t just surviving, he looks as vital as when he was a young whipper snapper in his 70s.
So what’s the secret? There may not be one simple answer. To most people in the last few decades of his life, they know him for his juicer infomercials. But, LaLanne originally gained recognition as a successful bodybuilder. He owes his vitality to the power of strength training.
Many experts believe that strength training is the key to preventing age-related disabilities. As you age, if you don’t continue to use your muscles, you will lose mass. This has all kinds of implications, not the least of which is a connection to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic illnesses. This happens by slowing your body’s metabolic rate, which encourages fat accumulation, which in turn snowballs into various health problems.
The most important thing to realize is that it is never too late to start exercising. The human body has an amazing ability to respond to exercise at any age. In studies of men and women in their 80s (or even older), they gained strength just as rapidly as younger adults by doing resistance training.
Consumer Reports gives the following ways that strength training rejuvenates your health:
- Benefits your cardiovascular system
- Fights diabetes
- Strengthens bones
- Prevents cancer
- Builds bones
- Increases mobility
October 22nd, 2009