Lifting Our Way to Greater Health
Remember how our mothers would constantly remind us to drink milk in order to have healthy bones? True enough, calcium intake, be it via food or supplements, is a great way to maintain our bone health. However, even though popping pills seem like the easiest way out, is there any other way for us to keep our bones at its optimum?
In this issue, we uncover the benefits of weight bearing exercises to our bone health. So what are you waiting for? Suit up and work that body out!
Weight bearing exercises refer to any activity, that work our muscles and bones against gravity while on our feet and legs. These activities include brisk walking, yoga, dancing and strength training.
In this section, we focus on weight training. Research has shown that weight training or resistance training can help strengthen our bones, improve our balance and help to lose weight. Weight training is not just about bodybuilders lifting weights in a gym. In fact, it can benefit people of all ages. So kick that common misconception and revel in the benefits of weight training!
Benefits of Weight Training Exercises
Increases Bone Density and Muscle Mass
According to Dr David Wong, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Raffles Orthopaedic Centre, the amount of bone tissue in the skeleton, known as bone mass, can keep growing until around age 30. At that point, our bones have reached their maximum strength and density, otherwise known as peak bone mass. Our bone mass will start to decrease after that.
That being said, studies have also shown that we lose about 1 percent of our bone and muscle strength every day. This is more prevalent as we age. When we cultivate weight bearing activities as a regular part of our weekly exercise routine, we are actually slowing down the loss of bone density. This can help us to remain active and independent further into old age, as well as help reduce our risks for bone-related diseases, such as osteoporosis.
Reduce Risk of Injuries
Dr David Wong agreed that when we train, we are not only working out our muscles, we will also be working on our ligaments and tendons that are connecting our bones, muscles and other tissues. Thus, this reduces our chances of injuring ourselves when we participate in physical activities.
Tones Our Muscles and Aids in Weight Loss
Good news for the ladies! Weight training exercises actually help to tone our muscles and control our weight. When we gain muscle mass, our body burns calories more efficiently, thus eventually leading to weight loss. The more toned our muscles are, the easier it is for us to maintain and manage our weight. In addition, weight training will eventually help to increase our stamina! Also, in an aesthetic point of view, toned muscles look nice and thus boosting our self-confidence!
Better, Faster, Stronger!
As we grow stronger after several weight training routines, we will feel more energetic and would not tire as easily. Studies have shown that exercise, be it in the form of weight bearing or not, decreases depression and anxiety as well as boosts self esteem. Weight training is also known to reduce stress and release hormones that are conducive to improvements in our sleep.
Develops Better Body Mechanics
Weight training not only keeps our muscles toned and our bone health at its optimum, it also improves our balance, coordination and posture. Studies have also shown that for those with poor balance, weight training would certainly be of help as it reduces our risk of falling. This is a crucial benefit, especially when we get older.
Many of us may think that weight lifting is simply just well, lifting .
owever, there are certain guidelines that we should follow in order to fully reap in the benefits of weight training.
- Below are some tips for an enjoyable and safe workout!
- Warm up and cool down before each exercise routine
- Keep the back straight when lifting to prevent any risk of injuries
- Gauge your own ability. Do not lift more than you know you can lift safely
- Do not continue to lift when feeling unwell
The next time you hit the gym for a workout session, do include weight lifting as part of your routine. Ms Lucie Lamprey, Physiotherapist, Raffles Physiotherapy recommends the following exercises that not only keeps you in shape, but at the same time keeps your bones and muscles at its optimum.It is now time to suit up, grab that dumbbell and work our way out to a greater health!
Tip : Do this in front of a mirror so that you can monitor your posture. For those with a personal trainer, it is best to get him or her to evaluate your technique.
A) Standing Bicep Curl
To do this, begin by standing straight. Ensure that you do not lock your knees. This is to prevent unnecessary stress on the joints, thus reducing the risk of injuries.
1.Hold a dumbbell on your hand along the side of your body, palm facing your leg.
2. To get your muscles working, curl in the dumbbell by bending your elbow so that your palm is now facing your shoulder. Be sure to maintain your elbow and shoulder at the same place without any sudden movement.
3. Bring the dumbbell back to the starting position.
B) Reverse Lunge
Now that you have worked your arms out, it is time to work those legs! In this move, always remember to keep your upper body steady throughout.
Stand up and hold a dumbbell on each hand along the sides of your body, with your palms facing your body.
Step backwards and bend your knees in order to bring down your body until your knees form a 90 degrees angle.
Raise yourself back up after a short pause.
C) Dead Lift
1.This is one of the most beneficial strength building exercises as it affects a wide range of skeletal muscle groups in one functional movement.
Stand up and grab a dumbbell with each of your hands.
2. Flex your knees and hips.
3. Lower the dumbbells straight down and raise yourself back up after a short pause.
Do remember to breathe in when lowering the weight and breathe out when returning to the starting position.