That’s what my mom asked me after one of her visits to the gym. Where are many reasons, but here is one success story.
But this article doesn’t really answer the question “why?”
Since we at MDSoF are mostly interested in General Physical Preparedness (GPP) and, in general, better health, I’ll stick to reasons that address those (although, I think stronger people are generally hotter, have more fun, and harder to kill but I can’t prove that :-)). Also note that while this post is directed at women, we are an equal opportunity gym, so all these reasons apply to men as well:
- Bone Mineral Density (BMD): If I only had an elevator ride to explain why getting stronger is really getting healthier, I would start with bone mineral density. There are many ways to increase or keep your existing bone density. The two fastest and easiest ways are to, one, increase the contractile strength of the muscles that connect to the bone, and, two, load the bones axially, i.e. long-ways. Obviously, there are pharmacological ways to increase BMD but definitely strength training is the low-hanging fruit. Note: BMD is just an estimate of bone strength and is not always accurate, but right now, to my knowledge, it is the fastest and least invasive way of knowing bone strength.
- Functional movement and balance: Hopefully the elevator is still going all the way to the top, so let me sneak one more in. The high-priority lifts and exercises used in strength training, or at least coached strength training, are full body, multi-joint movements like squatting, pressing and deadlifting, push-up, lunges, pull-ups, etc. are really measures of independence. By learning and improving these basic strength lifts and exercises, you are making payments to the most basic of all health insurance and/or long-term care plans, the Move-It-Or-Lose-It plan. Seriously, when you can’t do your activities of daily living (ADLs) you will lose your independence. Susan, Jules and I met a woman on our hike up Windy Hill a few weeks ago, she was late 60s or early 70s and she absolutely glowed with happiness and health. Ask the people that you want to be like when you grow up if they exercise, I bet most of them do, even if it is gardening a few hours each week.
OK, the elevator ride is over. I don’t want to be an alarmist, most of us are a long way from a hip fracture or losing the ability to perform ADLs; however, ask the health practitioners that workout at the gym how often they see relatively young people with old people’s diseases. It happens, don’t be that gal (or guy), strong women are healthy women.
This post is dedicated to one of the strongest and most powerful women I have ever known. Joan, thank you for your service to the MDSoF community. We hope to see you soon.