Peak Freaks and Trainiacs Will Live Longer!

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Here’s one more reason to become (or remain) Peak Freaks and Trainiacs: Researchers from China and Indiana University looked at data from 4,449 older adults in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and found that those with low muscle strength had more than twice the risk of dying during the study than those with normal muscle strength.

“Study authors concluded that low muscle strength was independently associated with a higher risk of death, regardless of muscle mass, metabolic syndrome, sedentary time or leisure-time physical activity.” The study appeared in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.

I believe that almost anyone of any age can build strength. When done carefully and methodically strength can be built and maintained well into your senior years! I continue to maintain the belief that strength training should be the foundation of one’s fitness training for life.

Last year I decided to include trap bar deadlifts into my strength training for a portion of the year. Throughout my years of lifting I’ve always had to be careful with my low back as I put substantial wear and tear on it in my younger days while throwing freight in grocery. I began the deadlifting at a very low intensity doing 4-5 sets of 10 reps with about 115 lbs. Simply by applying the progressive overload principle I gradually increased the loads over the next approximately 20 weeks, finally concluding with around 275 lbs for 8 reps.

I use the above as an example to show how progressive and methodical strength training can change your strength in a relatively brief period of time. In the above example, I did deadlifts only once per week and would sometimes even skip a week if my back was feeling dicey. Because I began with such a light weight and was doing a full-body exercise, I was able to increase the load by 10 lbs per week. The speed of progression, however, will be dependent upon the specific exercise, your age, your previous lifting experience, etc.

The study’s take-home message: Get Strong and Live Long!
Go lift some heavy stuff.
—Joe