Who wants to reverse ageing? I believe most of us do, since we live in a society obsessed with youth and beauty. According to nutrition and fitness experts such as Bob Greene, Oprah Winfrey’s trainer, maintaining lean muscle mass may be the most important strategy for successful ageing. He is right!
This is because maintaining lean muscle mass will:
- Maintain basal metabolic rate (BMR), therefore helps decrease risk of obesity.
- Keeps body fat low, which helps control blood cholesterol levels.
- Increases insulin sensitivity, therefore helps to avoid onset of Type II Diabetes – but exercise has this positive effect on both normal and insulin resistant populations. A single session can increase insulin sensitivity up to 16 hours post exercise.
- Maintains body water, which decreases the risk of dehydration, and improves body temperature regulation.
- Increases bone density, thus decrease your chance of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis happens when the bones lose their strength and density, become fragile and break more easily. This unfortunately can happen for a few reasons, such Calcium or Vitamin D deficiency and ageing. Especially women after menopause have to be particularly careful. The good news is, your body is designed to adapt to anything you put it through. The more weight baring exercise you do, the stronger your bones get because they have to keep up with the load.
The bad news is as we age, our muscle mass is decreasing (atrophy); therefore our BMR is decreasing, so we burn less calories day by day.
Your best way to slow down this ageing process is to hit the gym, and grab some weights!
A lot of women are afraid of weight lifting because of the fear of bulking up. However most don’t realize to actually ‘bulk up’, you need to train a specific way, and have an eating plan designed to put on muscle. Women have very low levels of testosterone (male hormone) needed to ‘get big’, so your chances of bulking up from a couple days of weight training sessions is minimal to none. So all of you out there who have been staying away from the dumbbells and machines, get on them now!
To get started, aim for a 35-40-minute full body program including 3 sets of each exercise with 8-12 repetitions! Make sure to incorporate both upper and lower body exercises. Squats and lunges are my favorites! I find doing them is the quickest and most effective way to increase your muscle mass and improve your lower physique. Make sure you always warm up on a cardio machine for 5 minutes before your weight session, and always stretch after! Rolling your hamstrings and thighs on a foam roller is a fantastic way to aid recovery, plus it feels like getting a massage.
If you have never lifted weights before, it is important to consult a certified personal trainer to teach you the correct postures and moves, to avoid injury and bad habits.
In addition to exercise you should always practice Nikolett’s Daily Essentials.