There is a nice article in the BBC today talking about the research that looked into the effects of weight training and aerobic exercise on mortality (your likelihood of dying) in 60 and 70 year olds.
It showed that doing just weight training alone had a significant benefit against almost all causes of death. They also reconfirmed the well established influence of aerobic activity on life expectancy and showed that in combination, weight training and aerobic exercise gave the biggest positive influence on your health and mortality.
What Does This Mean For You?
It should not come as a surprise that the research is saying you NEED to be exercising every week. Whether you are 20, 50 or 80 years old the benefits are massive. You do not need any prior experience, or a history of being an athlete to enjoy these benefits. You simply need to start doing it. Aerobic exercise could be walking (esp if gets you slightly out of breath, e.g. up a hill) or cycling etc.
Too few people do weight training and it was interesting that the benefits of doing it alone almost matched aerobic training. When done alongside the aerobic fitness it was even more powerful. So in summary, you need to be doing weight training!!
What the BBC Got Wrong – What is Weight Training?
While the article was good, the BBC then went on to drop a clanger by suggesting various forms of exercise which are not weight lifting. They say you can get the same benefits from doing Tai Chi, carrying shopping bags, Yoga or Pilates. If you look at the actual research paper you will see none of these are listed. It was a direct question about lifting weights. The reality is that for most people, none of the above will count as weight lifting or resistance training. Obviously, if you are doing 1 handed upside down handstands in yoga (I met an old Indian guy who could do that in a youth hostel in Beijing) then that is different, but lets be real… you aren’t doing that!
Weight training is about moving a weight (e.g. a dumbbell, your body or an exercise band) in a way you get tired between 1-20 reps ish. Where tired is, your muscles suggest you should stop, not that you stop because you are bored or coincidentally reached a number you felt you should stop on. Saying that though, it does not have to hurt or be painful, likewise, you should only ever feel the muscles getting tired or warm, you should never feel it in a joint.
The great thing about doing weights is you do not get out of breath. So the people who do not like the breathlessness of fitness training may actually really like weight lifting. This makes it very easy to do.
I am almost finished with my new online programme where there are over 20 exercise classes you can follow along to, from 10 to 45 minutes depending on the workout. You simply press play and copy what I am doing to get your weight training covered. These are all done at home with just an exercise band and your body weight. This should be available in the next couple of weeks. Reply here for more information.
I also help people face to face, where I cover the full range of client goals. Yesterday, I helped a guy exercise for the first time in 18 years, then helped someone focus on achieving the splits followed by a sprint training session for someone at semi-pro level. Whatever your goals, I can help you get there.
Photos – The Research articles above and a follow along video from my online programmes.
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