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Strength training helps older adults live longer

"Big John Triglia" when he started Resistance Exercise with us 108 years ago...

Way back in 2000, I started working with an older sector of the population at a small exercise facility called F.I.T. It was here that I first began to listen to the words of Steve Reis. "Do this long enough" he said, "and you are going to totally outlive your retirement income. You better have a plan..." Shortly after in 2001, Steve and I, with his wife and two other partners started our own facility, which we now call Santa Rosa Strength...

Before we move on, I just want to point out that we are the ORIGINAL Santa Rosa Strength. Not the other one (Santa Rosa Strength and Conditioning) who never gave us the courtesy of recognizing that they were infringing in a very small town. No phone smoke signal...nothing. They can be found easily and many of my friends on Facebook continually like them. Whatever...I digress.

As Steve preached the truth of SuperSlow...I believed. Some of the people I had spoken to would tell me SuperSlow wouldn't work, but I saw and knew differently. As our business grew, we continued to point people towards the the book Biomarkers, in which the "slippery slope of aging" was described. Here they used words like Sarcopenia (the gradual loss of muscle due to aging) and phrases such as health span or functional capacity. A persons functional capacity is good when they are self reliant and can perform daily living activities by themselves. When they can no longer walk two flights of stairs however, it is said that their functional capacity is low and have entered the dreaded Disability Zone...that period of life where they become increasingly dependent on others. We took on clients who had already entered into this zone and help them live longer, more functional lives. Still people were not easily convinced.

In 2007, the Buck Institute, located in Novato California, published a study co-led by Buck Institute faculty member Simon Melov, PhD, in the journal PLOS One that revealed how mitochondrial dysfunction is involved in the loss of muscle mass and functional impairment, commonly seen in older people. After 6 months of strength exercise, the test subjects showed a remarkable reversal of this impairment. “We were very surprised by the results of the study,” said Melov. “We expected to see gene expressions that stayed fairly steady in the older adults. The fact that their ‘genetic fingerprints’ so dramatically reversed course gives credence to the value of exercise, not only as a means of improving health, but of reversing the aging process itself, which is an additional incentive to exercise as you get older." We began to say Strength Reverses Aging. People laughed...

Since then much work has been done to prove the efficacy of strength training for the management of many age related impairments and diseases. Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Type II Diabetes, Heart Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Osteoporosis and Frailty, and forms of Arthritis are all positively effected by Resistance Exercise. Our muscles are more involved in the process of aging than we were taught in school, and it is high time that we start paying attention to what can be done to extend the health and function of our bodies, so we can stay on our feet. In April of this year, a new analysis by researchers at Penn State College of Medicine, Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, and Columbia University demonstrated older adults who met twice-weekly strength training guidelines had lower odds of dying. Older adults who strength trained at least twice a week had 46 percent lower odds of death for any reason than those who did not. They also had 41 percent lower odds of cardiac death and 19 percent lower odds of dying from cancer.

Look, most of us are going to get about 75 - 84 joyous years on this planet, though some of you unlucky (or lucky depending on your perspective) ones are going to still be up and at 'em every morning at 100. Maybe you will be the world's oldest WalMart greeter. You can blame Steve (and me ...Wes Hardy) for convincing you to do strength exercise and therefore extending your life. But you have a can be on your feet enjoying the drudgery of your retirement jobs (or joy of retirement freedom) or you can be sitting around ringing that little bell every time you need to get up and use the bathroom. Either way...the slippery slope of aging is coming. Are you prepared? Strength...


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