Strength Training for Health, Happiness, & Healing Injuries
Strength training has been proven to help people overcome diabetes, lose weight, reduce pain, feel better, sleep better, and live longer – just what West Virginia needs. Strength training, such as lifting weights or our body weight, has also been shown to be both safe and effective for women and men of all ages, including those who are not in perfect health.
In fact, according to recent studies and the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “people with health concerns—including heart disease or arthritis—often benefit the most from an exercise program that includes lifting weights a few times each week.”
Strength training, especially with regular aerobic exercise like brisk walking, jogging, etc., can also have a profound impact on a person’s mental and emotional health. This is particularly important for people who have recently suffered an injury or who are grappling with health issues like diabetes, obesity, or bone loss. Strength training can also be very powerful in reducing the signs and symptoms of numerous diseases and chronic conditions, including:
- back pain
Bodyweight Strength Training Routine
Fortunately, you don’t need a gym or weights to get started with a strength training routine right away. All you need is your bodyweight and a gallon of milk. Here’s the list of strength training exercises you can do at home or anywhere.
- 20 body weight squats
- 10 push ups
- 20 walking lunges
- 10 dumbbell rows (using a gallon milk jug)
- 15 second plank
- 30 Jumping Jacks
For a video demonstrating these strength training exercises and more information, see this strength training site.
Weight Loss and Weight Control for a Healthy West Virginia
Strength training is crucial to weight control because individuals who have more muscle mass burn more calories. Muscle is active tissue that burns calories while stored fat burns very little. Strength training can cause a person to burn up to 15% more calories. So, for an average person who burns 2000 calories a day, strength training would cause that person to burn 300 calories or more per day. Since a person needs to burn about 3500 calories extra to lose 1 pound of body fat, if that person took up strength training without changing anything else, including their diet, they would lose about 1 pound a week.
West Virginia Diabetes Epidemic – Strength Training Helps as Much as Medications
West Virginia has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the nation at 11.7% of its population. And more than 14 million Americans have type II diabetes—a staggering three-hundred percent increase over the past forty years—and the numbers are steadily climbing. In addition to being at greater risk for heart and renal disease, diabetes is also the leading cause of blindness in older adults.
Fortunately, studies now show that lifestyle changes such as strength training have a profound impact on helping older adults manage their diabetes. In a recent study of Hispanic men and women, 16 weeks of strength training produced dramatic improvements in glucose control that are comparable to taking diabetes medication. Additionally, the study volunteers were stronger, gained muscle, lost body fat, had less depression, and felt much more self-confident.
Happy Body, Happy Mind
Strength training provides similar improvements in depression as anti-depressant medications without the side effects and a decrease in effectiveness over time. Currently, it is not known if this is because people feel better when they are stronger or if strength training produces a helpful biochemical change in the brain. It is most likely a combination of the two. Research has shown, for example, when older adults participate in strength training programs, their self-confidence and self-esteem improve, which has a strong impact on their overall quality of life.
Better Sleep, Better Day
People who exercise regularly enjoy improved sleep quality, which helps with weight loss, moods, energy, and pain relief. Research shows that people who strength train fall asleep more quickly, sleep more deeply, awaken less often, and sleep longer. As with depression, the sleep benefits obtained as a result of strength training are comparable to treatment with medication but without the side effects or the expense.
Arthritis can be caused by genetics, age, accidents and/or other injuries. Tufts University recently completed a strength-training program with older men and women with moderate to severe knee osteoarthritis. The results of this sixteen-week program showed that strength training decreased pain by 43%, increased muscle strength and general physical performance, improved the clinical signs and symptoms of the disease, and decreased disability. The effectiveness of strength training to ease the pain of osteoarthritis was as or more effective than medications. Similar effects of strength training have been seen in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
Restoration of Balance and Reduction of Falls
Aging and injuries can cause poor balance and flexibility that contribute to falls and broken bones. These fractures can result in further disability and, in some cases, fatal complications. Strengthening exercises, when done properly and through the full range of motion, increase a person’s flexibility and balance, which decrease the likelihood and severity of falls. One study in New Zealand in women 80 years of age and older showed a 40% reduction in falls with simple strength and balance training.
Strengthening of Bone
Post-menopausal women can lose 1-2% of their bone mass annually. Results from a study conducted at Tufts University, which were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1994, showed that strength training increases bone density and reduces the risk for fractures among women aged 50-70.
Strength training is important for cardiac health because heart disease risk is lower when the body is leaner. One study found that cardiac patients gained not only strength and flexibility but also aerobic capacity when they did strength training three times a week as part of their rehabilitation program. This and other studies have prompted the American Heart Association to recommend strength training as a way to reduce risk of heart disease and as a therapy for patients in cardiac rehabilitation programs.
Free Consultation with a West Virginia Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident or by someone else’s negligence, West Law Firm invites you to call one of our experienced personal injury attorneys for a free case evaluation. Our toll free number is 1-877-943-WEST (1-877-943-9378).
Brooks West is a West Virginia personal injury lawyer who helps people who have been injured by negligence or wrongful conduct. He is the President and founder of West Law Firm and has been an attorney since 2005. Brooks is a Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum member and has been awarded the AV Preeminent Rating from Martindale-Hubbell.