Dr. Patterson Stark
Dr. Patterson Stark


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Resistance training

Resistance training or weight training is the most efficient way to gain strength. In a short period of time, you may be able to increase your strength up to 100 percent. Resistance training does not mean becoming the Incredible Hulk; instead, reclaiming your genetic potential is more the aim. The benefits of a resistance program can be seen in all age groups. Starting at the age of 15, most people can safely participate. Availability of weight training facilities is much more common than it was just five years ago.

Our bones undergo constant tearing down and building up. The status of our bones is a finely tuned physiologic balance of destruction vs. production. When we are young children and well into our twenties, the normal process is for bone to be PRODUCED. However, after we are 30-35 years old this changes. Rate of bone production gradually decreases and rate of bone loss increases. This is the sad tale of osteoporosis.

What can we do to stop this? How can we slow down the process of bone destruction? There are a few ways, including taking Calcium tabs, and medications. But there is another simple way to prevent bone loss, that is, by physically stressing the bones. OK, so how do we do that?

Bone can be flexed and twisted by gravity and additional weight (free weights, weight machines). The increased weight-bearing then causes bone cells to lay down additional new bone. Bone is thus, thicker and stronger. This is one of the most effective methods for preventing osteoporosis. Not only does bone benefit from weight training, but muscles respond by increasing their vascularity and contractability; tendons and ligaments by increasing their microcirculation, strength and functional ability.

I personally believe everyone over the age 30 should be in the gym pumping iron!

Some interesting studies have been done on the effects of weight training and the body's ability to gain strength at various ages. Elderly men and women in a rest home were asked to pump iron under the supervision of personal trainers for a three-month period. The trainers were there to ensure that the protocol was followed. A second, younger group was assembled at a local university and was given the same exercise routine. The percentage of improvement in maximum weight lifted and increased muscle size were measured. At the end of 16 weeks the researchers found that there was less than 1 percent difference between the 20 year- olds and 75 year-olds.

The human body is precious and has an incredible ability to regenerate, reaching high levels of performance regardless of age.

Your city library will have many books on the subject of weight training. Videos also are quite available. Gyms and clubs abound. If you look in your local area you will find knowledgeable people who can show you how to start your program, and the proper form. Remember, start your program slowly, keeping the weight low and the repetitions moderate. All the major muscle groups must be included.

Learn what your maximum weight is for each of the exercises. Then take 60 percent of that number and do a set consisting of eight to twelve repetitions. Rest for 60 seconds and repeat the set of eight to twelve. Finish with a third set. You'll find as you go from 60 percent to 80 percent of your maximum, there will be a place in the third set where you will fatigue and can lift no more. If this occurs between the eighth and twelve repetitions of the third set, maximum benefit is occurring. If it's too easy, increase the weight, and if it's too difficult, decrease it. Once a month, check your one repetition maximum. You'll be surprised to see how much you improve. Always keep a record of your workouts and the weights lifted.

Unless you do heavy manual labor such as farming, weight training is a way of life in our modern world.