"You can’t go wrong getting strong"Dec 21, 2021
“Remember how long you’ve been putting this off, how many extensions the gods gave you, and you didn’t use them. At some point you have to recognize what the world it is that you belong to; what power rules it and from what source you spring; that there is a limit to the time assigned you, and if you don’t use it to free yourself it will be gone and will never return.”
– Marcus Aurelius. Meditations.
I have said it before and I will say it again – you can’t go wrong getting strong. In fact, you would be wrong to avoid being strong.
Studies show that higher levels of fitness correlate to a healthier human. A healthier human means not only living longer, but also being freer to do the things you enjoy.
It means being able to open that jar. Being able to carry the groceries in from the car. It means playing with your grandkids a little while longer. It means living to see your grandkids grow a little older.
A study by Fitzgerald and colleges looked at bench press, leg press, and sit up capabilities of older adults and followed them for years after testing to see which groups fared better over time. Turns out those with higher muscular strength levels fared better. They showed that “low levels of muscular strength and/or endurance were predictive of poor physical function, which in turn has been found to be related to an increased mortality risk.”
On the opposite end of the spectrum, they found that increased muscular strength resulted in up to a 44% reduction in risk of all-cause mortality compared to low muscular fitness groups, and that “additional beneficial effects of resistance training programs include positive changes in bone mineral density, body composition, and glucose metabolism.”
The important thing to note here (besides the obvious that stronger probably = healthier) was the cut off points for low vs high muscular strength. Low strength was quantified as <61kg on bench press for men, and <27kg for women. For leg press it was <120 kg for men and <63kg for women. Those are pretty high numbers, which sadly means that most people likely fall into the low muscular strength category
While that last statement may come as a shock, the good news is its never too late to start. We have a leg press and a chest press machine as the first two options as you step up onto the strong floor, and I’ve heard rumor they sometimes call out longing for use as they sit collecting dust.
2-4 sets of 8-12 reps at a 6/10 difficulty or higher, done 1-2 times a week is all you need. That’s about 20 minutes of work 2x a week.
Remember how long you’ve been putting this off…
FitzGerald, S. J., Barlow, C. E., Kampert, J. B., Morrow, Jr., J. R., Jackson, A. W., & Blair, S. N. (2004). Muscular fitness & all-cause mortality: Prospective observations. Journal of Physical Activity & Health,1(1),7-18.