How does resistance exercise help aging?


Resistance exercise has several significant benefits in combating the effects of aging:

  1. Neuromuscular Health: Resistance training is vital for maintaining neuromuscular health. It helps combat neuromuscular aging, ensuring that your muscles and nerves function effectively as you age. This type of exercise is essential for maintaining strength and muscle function, which can decline with age 1.

  2. Muscle Mass and Strength: Regular resistance training can substantially reduce the natural loss of muscle mass and strength that occurs as we age. After age 40, muscle size typically decreases by about 1% per year, but resistance exercise can offset this loss. Moreover, while muscle strength can decline by 3-5% per year and explosiveness by 8-10% per year after age 40, appropriate strength training can maintain or even improve these aspects 2.

  3. Brain Health: Resistance exercises can positively impact brain health. Activities that put a load on the bones, such as weightlifting, emit a hormonal signal called osteocalcin from the bones to the hippocampus. This signal supports the health of neurons in this region, which is crucial for memory 3.

    Benefits of Exercise

    Andy Galpin emphasizes the importance of understanding the various benefits of exercise beyond just muscle growth and fat loss. Resistance exercise and strength training are crucial for combating neuromuscular aging, while endurance training has independent benefits such as improving cognitive tasks and immune function.

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These benefits highlight the importance of integrating resistance training into exercise routines, especially as one ages, to maintain physical and cognitive health.