by Tawny McLellan, C.P.T.

If you are a woman over the age of 35, you're probably starting to notice a few changes in your body. "Do tell", you say! Ok, it's not only women that this happens to, but this article mostly deals with some specific issues that women seem to encounter as an almost universal experience. Men, however, can learn from this too.

You know the kinds of changes I'm talking about. Changes in your energy levels, the loss of muscular strength and a general lack of vigor are all too familiar to most people. Most of us figure that it is a normal, inevitable part of getting older. Yes, aging does play a role in these changes, but the number one reason is that women tend to lose about one third of their muscle mass between the ages of 35 and 80! The main culprit of this sad fact is inactivity. Of course the obvious consequence of feeling that lack of energy and vigor is to be even less active, and so a vicious cycle begins, resulting in a debilitating loss of muscle mass.

The changes tend to be subtle at first: Your legs feel heavy and tire more easily if you take a brisk walk; groceries, laundry, and even the trash can seems heavier; you find you need to sit and rest a bit after a couple hours at the shopping mall. As time goes on, this may progress to the point that it is difficult to get out of your easy chair. If you haven't experienced this yourself, you have surely known someone who has.

Does it absolutely have to go like this? NO, emphatically, NO! There is a certain type of exercise that can, when consistently done, help slow down the aging process!

Here's the Secret!
The closest thing that you will find to a true Fountain of Youth is a consistently applied program of weight training. I can hear your groans now! Ugh! Weight training? Isn't that for young athletes? I don't want to bulk up, or look like a bodybuilder, so why should I weight train?

My answer is that you should engage in a moderate, personalized weight training program to help push back the clock and give yourself a fighting chance to reverse many of the symptoms of aging. Below are some facts about some of the benefits of this type of exercise.

Training with weights...

ENERGIZES - An active lifestyle has been shown to decrease disease and disability, improve mental health, and increase longevity. Women who work-out with weights are 27% more active than their peers. On the other hand, women who don't exercise tend to be 25% less active than those same peers.

TRIMS and TIGHTENS - Performing a strength training routine at least twice a week will help you lose inches and tone flabby areas.

HELPS CONTROL WEIGHT - Weight training boosts the metabolism causing you to burn more calories, even at rest. Weight training increases and maintains muscle mass, while dieting alone results in lost muscle and a lowered metabolic rate.

HALTS BONE LOSS - Women over 35 who weight train can halt bone loss, and sometimes even restore bone. After menopause, women lose 1% of their bone mass per year, and even more during the first 5 postmenopausal years. In a study done on two groups of postmenopausal women, one group weight trained 3 times per week for 1 year, and the other group did not. The weight trainers lost no bone and some even gained 1%. The sedentary group lost an average of 2% in that same year.

IMPROVES BALANCE - Strong muscles help stabilize the joints and spine, and greatly affect the posture and balance. Sedentary women 70 years of age and older were tested and measured, showing an 8.5% decline in their balance over one year. They then began weight training and improved their balance test scores by 14% over the next year.

The list of benefits could be much longer, but these are some of the most important ones. Talk to a trainer, go to a gym or better yet, visit The Diet Guru to learn more about lifting weights and all kinds of fitness information. You will be glad you did!

Copyright Tawny McLellan
About the author: I have been in the health and fitness field for over 20 years. I am a certified personal fitness trainer who has created the Total Success Weight Loss Program. This unique program is the only real solution to permanent weight loss. In the recent past I have been the owner/operator of a health food store and restaurant, and later a full service fitness center. I am also a professional natural bodybuilder who has competed over 30 times. I love writing about health and fitness, and have published many articles on this topic. I am also interested in computers and the Internet and have a growing Web site development business. My other passion is animals and wildlife. I am currently training Shasta, my companion wolf. Yes, she's a real wolf!