A fellow co-worker forwarded a rather interesting article to me a few weeks ago regarding strength training and its effects on the ‘biomarkers of aging.’ These indicators give a more accurate description of your ‘biological age.’ In other words, if we had measurements of the ten variables indicated in the article, we would be able to tell you how well your body is aging relative to time. These are excellent indicators of an individual’s wellness and offer a more accurate representation of whether or not you are on the right path to living a long and healthy life. In the past, the emphasis for improving your biomarker profile has been placed on cardiovascular training. However, recent evidence suggests that strength training may be the best tool to improve your outlook.
Among the obvious benefits are an overall increase in muscle mass and power (which reduces your risk for falls later on in life), improvement or maintenance of bone density, and improvement in body composition. Emerging research is affirming the position that strength training also increases Resting Metabolic Rate by as much as 15% post-training. What I find to be one of the more interesting developments regarding improvements in these indicators is the research on genetic expression and ‘genetic aging’ in response to strength and power training. More and more evidence suggests that strength and power training can serve as the elusive ‘Fountain of Youth’ for aging seniors, reducing the oxidative damage that occurs as a result of environmental and dietary stress.
All in all, there are some exciting new developments in the field of exercise science which will continue to help us address and prevent the many health problems that we face as a nation. I find myself constantly reminding our members at the Wellness Center that there should be a great deal of emphasis placed on strength and power training. I hope as more of this kind of research makes itself visible to the public eye, we will see a paradigm shift in the implementation of exercise programs aimed at improving overall outcomes.