Mind, Body & Soul by Lola Olarewaju

Man’s most effective anti-ageing weapon: Resistance Training

We are an image-obsessed nation. Each year, we spend billions of pounds on gadgets, beauty products and gym memberships, with the hope of transforming how we look and feel. Women strive for the perfect figure and men for the perfect, ripped body. I can’t claim to have the formula to getting that ‘perfect’ body many of us are in pursuit of; however, what I can offer are the benefits of resistance training.

What is Resistance Training?
Put simply, resistance training is exercising your muscles using some sort of opposing force – whether it’s free weights, dumbbells, or using one’s body weight.

Did you know…?
…that for every pound of muscle a man loses, he gains a pound of fat, and one pound of fat takes up 18% more space on your body than one pound of muscle? Did you know, between the ages of 30 and 70, flexibility decreases by 20–50%, making it harder for joints to move through their full range of motion? So the simple act of just touching your toes can become difficult to do as you get older. Growing older doesn’t have to mean living a life with aches and pains if we are prepared to make some adjustments to our lifestyles, such as doing resistance training regularly.

Researchers at the University of Michigan found that men who performed total body resistance training just three times a week for two months lowered their blood pressure readings by an average of eight points. That’s the same as reducing the risk of a stroke by 40%.

Resistance training improves bone health
As you age, you lose bone mass, increasing the likelihood of osteoporosis – a condition that weakens bones, making them fragile and more likely to break. This condition tends to be more associated with women; however both men and women can be affected. Weak bones increase the risk of fracture in the hip or vertebrae. Mayo Clinic researchers found that 30% of men die in the first year of breaking a hip. The good news is that participating in regular resistance training can help maintain bone density and delay the onset of this degenerative process. Recent research in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that men who lifted weights for 16 weeks increased their hip bone density by 3.8%, and raised their blood levels of osteocalcin (a marker of bone growth) by 19%.

Resistance training and your metabolism
Muscle tissue is metabolically active, and the more you have, the more calories you burn -even when inactive, like sleeping. Scientists in the Netherlands calculated that men who lifted weights two times a week for 18 weeks burned an average of 9% more calories a day than non weight lifters. That’s enough for the average man to lose 25 pounds in a year without making any changes to his diet.

Resistance training improves flexibility
With ageing also comes a decrease in flexibility. From age 30 to 70, flexibility goes down 20 -50%, making it harder for joints to move freely. However, results from a study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine found that three full body workouts – with weights for 16 weeks – increased flexibility to the hips and shoulders by more than 30%, and improved sit-and-reach test scores by 11%. So, if you still would like to tie your own shoelaces in your 60s and beyond, start lifting those weights!

Keep your muscles active and you are more likely to live a longer, healthier life.

Summer has arrived and so too has one of the nation’s favourite fruits: strawberries. Not only are they juicy and delicious, but they’re also full of antioxidants like vitamin C – a well known immunity booster. One serving of strawberries contains 51.5mg of vitamin C, which is about half of your daily requirement. Vitamin C is one of the antioxidants that can help with cancer prevention, since a healthy immune system is the body’s best defence. A phytochemical called ellagic acid—also found in strawberries—is another. Ellagic acid has been shown to yield anti-cancer properties, like suppressing cancer cell growth.

Strawberries also contain antioxidants lutein and zeathancins. Antioxidants are scavengers to free radicals and neutralise the potentially negative effect they can have on our cells.
Now you know a few of the benefits of this fruit, I say it’s time to indulge a little.

Benefits of water
Summer is here again, and we just can’t seem to get enough of the sun’s rays on our skin. Whilst we are out and about in the sun, it’s very important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. As the temperature rises, so too does the amount of water we lose from our bodies, and it’s vital we replace that water in order for us to stay well and alive. Not only will staying hydrated keep you alive, water also helps prevent a dry mouth; it keeps the throat and lips moist; water promotes cardiovascular health; it keeps the body cool; helps the muscles and joints work better; keeps the skin supple; flushes out toxins from the body and, most importantly, will help you enjoy all those hours of the summer sun. So the next time you take a sip of water, you might just want to thank it for all it does for you.

Drink your water and enjoy your summer.

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