Thursday, May 31, 2007

Progressive resistance training #1

I've been involved in a range of sports, including swimming, rowing, cycling and running. They all have their benefits, and just about any form of exercise is better than no exercise. But in terms of 'results for effort/time spent' none of them comes close to progressive resistance training (PRT).

Benefits of PRT include:

Prevents a decline in muscle strength
Without PRT adults lose 5-7 lbs. in muscle mass in 10 years. Numerous studies have shown that muscles can remain in good condition indefinitely when appropriate exercise is maintained.

Reduces back pain
Weak back muscles are the main risk factor for back pain. A number of studies have shown that patients with back problems had significantly less pain after a 10-week period of targeted exercise.

Increases bone density
Strength training has a positive effect on bone tissue, delaying and even reversing age-related osteoporosis.

Reduces arthritic pain
Fisher and others showed in a study of strength training undertaken by patients in their seventies with osteoarthritis of the knee that quadriceps strength increased by 35% after a 4-month training period and pain was reduced by 40%.

Improves metabolic rate
A 3-lb. increase in muscle mass increases metabolic rate by 7% and daily calorific consumption by 15%. Strength training increases metabolic activity and so reduces the likelihood of fat accumulation.

Improves glucose metabolic rate
Studies have reported an increase of 23% in the glucose metabolic rate after 4 months of strength training.

Aids digestion
The speed of food moving through the alimentary canal increases by 50% after 3 months of regular strength training.

Reduces blood pressure and blood fat levels
PRT stimulates the production and release of nitric oxide by the endothelial cells on the inside layer of blood vessels. When we exercise, the accelerated pumping of our hearts forces more blood to flow through our vessels. As this blood pushes its way along the lining of our vessels, the endothelial cells release more nitric oxide, helping to keep our blood vessels open.