Our motto at Iron Republic is simple, “LIVE LIFE STRONG”.
Does that only mean physical strength? Not at all.
We believe it is important to feel strong not only physically, but mentally, spiritually (whatever way that means for you), and through a strong connection with like-minded peers (community!).
Physical strength, however, is extremely important. And no, that doesn’t mean you have to look like a bodybuilder. You can be very strong without being very big.
So why is training for physical strength so important? Well, there are countless reasons. But in this article we are just going to focus on one big reason- LIFE!
Building physical strength means increasing lean muscle mass. And building lean muscle mass means increasing your chances of living longer.
A study done at UCLA found that, “all-cause mortality was significantly lower in the fourth quartile of muscle mass index compared with the first quartile.” What they are basically saying is that out of all the subjects studied, those who had the greatest muscle mass lived the longest. “Quartile” just means they divided the study subjects into four groups based on amount of muscle mass. And these study subjects were men aged 55 or older and women aged 65 or older.
The researchers go on to say, “…rather than worrying about weight or body mass index, we should be trying to maximize and maintain muscle mass.”
Many fitness programs tend to focus heavily on aerobic exercises. While cardiovascular health is vital, you can get the best of both worlds by combining resistance training and aerobic training. Including circuits in your workout routine will satisfy the needs for maintaining/building muscle mass, increase the strength of the heart muscles, and improving lung functioning.
Now let’s quickly address many “resistance training” group exercise routines. Dancing for 45 mins while punching in the air with 3-5 lb dumbbells is not resistance training. I’m not downplaying its ability to get the heart pumping, the lungs burning, and the sweat dripping. It also burns a lot of calories. If you enjoy that type of workout, then that’s great! Building and/or maintaining muscle mass, however, is not something it does quite well.
In order to build lean muscle, you need to lift weights heavy enough to challenge you. That doesn’t mean “hurt you” or “make you bulky.” It means that you must feel somewhat of a challenge when you pick it up. If you can pick up a dumbbell and do curls with it for 45 mins while dancing, then it is too light.
I completely understand the concern of lifting weights and getting bulky. The truth, however, is that bodybuilders use light weights and high repetitions to increase the size of their muscles. Lifting heavy for a few reps has less chance of creating bulk then the current low weight/high repetition routines that many people do.
In summary, lifting weights to increase or maintain muscle mass just might increase your chances of living longer. I know you want to live a long time. All of us do! No one wants to go through life feeling like they have to hire someone to carry their groceries to the car.
So grab some weights, throw in a few circuits of resistance exercises, and LIVE LIFE STRONG!
P.S. Our next two week Foundations Trial Membership begins this coming Monday (1/18) at 6:30 pm. If you’re someone who wants to LIVE LIFE STRONG, then click here to register for the course! Our classes are great for all fitness levels!