AREAS OF INTEREST: SARCOPENIA, LOSING MUSCLE, GAINING FAT, METABOLISM, RESISTANCE TRAINING.
by: Tom Seabourne Ph. D
Muscles in the back of your arms are not just cosmetic. Triceps help you push, keep your balance, catch yourself if you fall, and then pick yourself up. In the revised guidelines, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that strength training be an integral part of an adult fitness program.
Resistance-trained men and women generally have better reaction times, increased flexibility, endurance, and leaner body mass than non-trainers. Circuit weight training lowers blood pressure and increases food transit time through the colon to combat some types of cancer. And one of the most convenient and inexpensive piece of resistance equipment is your SportCord.
Unwanted fat in the back of the arms may be mistaken for flabby muscle. There’s only so much fat you can take off by dieting and doing cardiovascular exercises, says Wayne Wescott, Ph.D., fitness director. Strength training adds lean muscle, increasing your metabolism. More muscle means a faster metabolism which requires more food for energy. A high metabolism is a blessing in our over-fed, under-exercised lifestyle.
Centuries ago slabs of muscle combined with low body fat would have been anathema. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors survived long periods without food. Today with our over-abundance, low body fat and rock-hard muscle signify health and vitality. Tufts University researcher
|Wayne Campbell put twenty-four senior citizens on a weight-lifting program for twelve weeks. Their food was monitored; and, in order to stabilize their weight, all lifters were required to consume three hundred extra calories each day. According to Campbell, without the additional food, his subjects would have lost an average of ten pounds because their metabolic rates increased by about seven percent.
After the age of thirty, metabolic rate decreases five-tenths of a percent per year in response to diminishing muscle mass. Rosenberg and Evans coined the term “sarcopenia” for losing muscle due to inactivity as we age. Wescott said that unexercised muscle is lost at a rate of about one-half pound per year in adults. This loss decreases resting metabolism, possibly resulting in gaining fat. If you lose muscle and continue to eat the same foods, the calories that supported your muscle will be stored as fat. The average American adds about a pound of body fat each year.
Maintain your muscle and you won’t have to cut calories in mid-life. Endocrinologist, Jorge Calles says that a weight-trainer can over-eat occasionally and not gain body fat because his metabolism naturally adjusts. However a non-exerciser’s metabolism slows down in response to a binge.
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