Dana Hixon, 45, is a personal trainer in our community of Grass Valley, Calif., who specializes in helping her clients, especially women, achieve fitness goals through strength training.
Strength training is important as we age, because, as Dana pointed out, most people lose about a quarter of a pound of muscle each year starting in their late 30s, either because of the aging process or poor nutrition and physical inactivity.
Muscle power keeps us mobile and our bones strong. Because muscles burn more calories than fat, muscle and lean body mass are the metabolic engines in our bodies. Building muscle also helps lower blood sugar levels, which can help reduce the risk of diabetes.
Dana also adds that strength training lowers the risk of osteoporosis and helps prevent fractures. This is important, since the need for rehabilitation after a fall is a common reason people move into assisted-living facilities. Muscle strength can also help reduce the pain from arthritis and the risk of heart disease. In addition, back pain can be curbed through strengthening abdominal and lower back muscles.
Feeling younger and having your body perform better are added benefits of strength training. Dana claimed that a 65-year-old woman who has been strength training and doing aerobic exercises for a year has a level of health comparable to a 45-year-old woman who is not exercising.