Last week I highlighted some of the benefits of Ayurveda. Today I’d like to talk about another interest (passion) of mine - Strength Training. This seems to be an aspect of fitness that is quite often overlooked. I find that, for various reasons, many people prefer to stick with some form of cardio training instead. Yes I know, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. Some reasons I heard for avoiding strength training are that - it’s quick & more enjoyable to run or jog, no access to a gym or equipment, planning a workout is a hassle, fear of getting ‘bulky’ (mostly women) and simply that strength training is boring & monotonous. All valid reasons! But strength training, while not that complicated, is actually also quite important. So here is your Strength Training 101 and why you should consider incorporating it into your (existing) fitness routine. Simply put, strength training (also known as weight training or resistance training) is the act of moving your body against some form of resistance. The resistance can be your own body weight, resistance bands, free weights or resistance machines.
The foundation of, even the most simple, strength training program consists of seven basic moves: squat, lunge, bend, pull, push, twist and a single-leg movement. Combine these with your choice of resistance and you’ve got yourself a solid workout program right there!
Reasons For Prioritizing or Incorporating Strength Training
Staying strong and protecting muscle mass
Age-related muscle loss, called sarcopenia, is a natural part of aging that we will all have to face. We begin to lose 3% - 8% of muscle mass per decade after the age of 30. Well, I’m no spring chicken so this is certainly worrisome. But this is where resistance training comes into play. Not only does it aid in preserving muscle mass but it also improves strength. This as we know is essential when it comes to doing the things we need to do on a day-to-day basis especially as we age.
Protecting bone health
Sorry to be the voice of doom here, but by age 30 most of us reach our peak bone mass. This is when our bones are at their maximum strength and density. After this, thanks to aging, we all begin to experience gradual bone loss. This is especially the case for women, who are prone to osteoporosis, with the onset of menopause. It just gets better doesn’t it? Luckily, strength exercises which maintain or build muscle mass in turn preserve and strengthen bones. This in itself should be a motivating factor.
Developing better body mechanics
Strength training exercises, especially in various planes of movement, engage your stabilizer muscles which lead to improving balance, stability, coordination and posture. All of which are important, not just for getting around and being able to do our day-to-day activities, but essential in our old age. Do you see where I’m going with this? Yes! Think ‘long-term’
Managing chronic conditions
Resistance training is effective in warding off and managing chronic conditions including type-2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and obesity.
The ability to increase lean muscle mass with strength training aids in managing weight and keeping any excess weight off. In fact, this form of exercise can be more effective than cardio when it comes to burning calories and stored fat.
Improving overall mood and mental health
Similar to the runner's high, strength training releases endorphins (aka your ‘ happy hormones’), which aid in improving energy levels and boosting your overall mood. Now, who doesn’t want to feel good?
So that is all quite wonderful right? Now what? Well, in the coming weeks I’ll be sharing snippets of information pertaining to this topic. This will include details on movements, sample exercises and ideas on how to plan your own workouts. So watch this space!
🎯 Quote of the week
If we are creating ourselves all the time, then it is never too late to begin creating the bodies we want instead of the ones we mistakenly assume we are stuck with.
- Deepak Chopra
🌿 Recipe Recommendation
In keeping with summer theme, here is an easy salad I love to whip up during the season. Typically, Ayurveda does not recommend salads or raw vegetables but this dish is a 'pass'. The star of this recipe is the beetroot - rich in minerals, nourishing, cleansing and cooling. Making it a perfect option for the warm weather.
NUTTY SPINACH BEET SALAD
2 medium-sized steamed or roasted beets (sliced or chopped)
1.5 tbsp. Crush walnuts or candied pecans
1 cup organic spinach
1-2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. organic crumbled goat cheese
Toss all ingredients in a bowl and serve!
Let me know your thoughts! 😊
That’s all for this week — be happy and stay healthy!
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