“We’ve seen research on every age group, from children to men and women in their 90s, and it’s clear that you can get stronger at any age,” says Lou Schuler, co-author of the new book The New Rules of Lifting for Life.
This intriguing new book draws out long known truths about muscle strength and longevity. Simply put, the book explains how the strongest people live longer. Additionally the book explains smart and healthy ways for anyone to get in the weight room and get an effective workout.
The authors call-out some common problems seen by many who frequent the gym. For instance, they dispel the myth that women don’t need to lift heavy weights.
“Middle-aged and older women think their bones will shatter if they pick up a weight that’s heavier than their purse. There’s nothing stranger than seeing a woman do a bench press or bent-over row with a dumbbell that’s smaller than her forearm,” Schuler says.
Schuler explains how another common error to be found in the weight room is that of overweight individuals.
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If you knew that lifting heavy weights wasn’t necessary to build muscle, would you drop those 50 pound dumbbells and swap them for 25s?
Well according to a new study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, you don’t have to lift heavy weights to build muscle strength – that light weights can be just as effective at building muscle if you do it correctly. Plus, you’re much less prone to injury that way. So you might be able to lighten your load after all.
This is important news for people seeking to remain healthy and active we’ll into their later years because it makes the task of maintaining muscle tone far less daunting. While cardiovascular exercise is important, it’s simply not enough to maintain muscle mass – some resistance training is required.
So just how much light lifting do you have to do to meet the goal? Based on prior studies, about 30 percent of your maximum effort until you reach fatigue.
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by Arleigh Aldrich
New studies conducted by Canadian researchers have found that those with type 1 diabetes may have an easier time managing their blood sugar levels if they lift weights before doing cardiovascular exercise.
Type 1 diabetes patients suffer from deficiencies in insulin, which the body needs to turn food into fuel. Without insulin, glucose from food remains in the blood and can cause harm to other organs in the body. Insulin can be regulated in type 1 diabetes patients through insulin injections or pumps. Only about 5% (1.3 million) of American diabetes patients suffer from type 1. Patients with type 2 diabetes account for the majority of diabetes patients in America. Those with type 2 produce insulin, however the body does not respond to it. Insulin must be injected directly into fat under the skin for the blood to absorb it.
Muscles utilize sugar fast in highly aerobic exercise, depleting blood sugar levels quicker than non-cardio workouts. What the experiment found was by lifting weights first, blood sugar levels remained above the minimum threshold for someone with type 1 diabetes. Furthermore, levels remained above the threshold for longer periods of time after the workout was completed.
Dr. Ronald Sigal is a lead author on the study and endocronologist at the University of Calgary in Canada. Sigal told Reuters Health, “It’s important to define the best way for people with type 1 diabetes to exercise so that blood sugar doesn’t drop too low, yet they can still reap all the benefits of aerobic exercise.”
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Nitric oxide (NO) is a naturally occurring free radical in your body that supplement companies are claiming can actually boost your workout performance. Those looking to increase muscle mass are drawn to the claims that NO can enhance workout performance, increase stamina and promote muscle repair. Sounds like a magic little pill, but is it too good to be true?
As a vasodialator, NO expands the veins to lessen the force the heart must exert to pump the same amount of blood through the body. Since oxygen is carried in the blood, elevated levels of nitric oxide are said to enhance oxygen delivery to your muscles. NO boosters are being marketed as great way to improve your workout performance. The primary ingredient in NO boosters is arginine, and these supplements, typically sold in pill form, usually contain additional active and inactive ingredients.
The effects of nitric oxide on muscle growth and development are under investigation in the scientific community, but there are many studies that have given us a bit of insight. In a study performed by the International Journal of Sports Medicine 30 endurance athletes were given L-arginine, aspartate or a placebo. At the end of the study, evidence showed zero increase in endurance and blood vessel dilation in participants, and that nitric oxide does not promote muscle growth.
Another study from the Baylor University (Texas) examined the effects of arginine supplements during training on body composition in experienced exercisers. At the end of the trial, no significant differences were observed in participants’ body mass, fat mass or body fat percentage.
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It’s a sad truth that many women avoid weights. Either they’re made uncomfortable by the macho association with the weight room or they’re afraid of looking bulky. In reality, strength training is an necessary part of maintaining weight loss and weight training is a great way to build muscle. All too often, women focus on burning calories with cardio, but if they’re not also strength training, this can result in a loss of muscle mass.
Diane Mueller, a bodybuilder and team leader for 911Strong.com, says that women don’t have to worry about bulking up. “If you’re a female, you don’t have the hormones to bulk up the way that a male or someone who uses chemical enhancements would, which is basically testosterone.”
Getting started in one of the biggest hurdles in creating a weight training program. “The biggest fear is stepping into the gym,” says Diane, adding that many women feel fear being judged. “I think once they get in there, and once they look around, they see that there’s so many different types of people in the gym. Not all of them are body builders.” To help get over any initial intimidation, Diane suggests getting a training buddy. “It’s nice to go with a friend. You feel a little more confidant when you go almost anywhere with a friend.”
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