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Yet More Reasons Why Weights Are A Fountain Of Youth

Yet More Reasons Why Weights Are A Fountain Of Youth

When it comes to physical health, there are several aspects to consider and train, if you want to have an all round kind of fitness. There’s strength, there’s flexibility, there’s cardio, there’s co-ordination, balance and there’s kinesthetic awareness.

I personally have my preferred tools – yoga, tai chi and weights. For many years weights have been the mainstay of my exercise programmes.

I have always hated running, so I simply don’t bother with it. Cardio is the most neglected aspect of my training, I must admit (except when I go on my infrequent Tabata binges).

You may think I should do something for better heart health, but it turns out I am going to be OK on that front. Apparently having more muscle mass as you age lowers your risk of heart disease by up to 80%.

It has been reported in the Sydney Morning Herald that a scientific study claims How much muscle you have ‘could be linked to the health of your heart.

Now, let me just put a caveat here. The reporting is on one study. The media do this all the time. Point to a single study and say, “Because scientists say so, it must be right”. That’s not how science works. Science works by scientific consensus.. where multiple studies all come to the same conclusion.

Having said that, I’m taking the results of this study and feeling pretty good about them. I’m lifting weights anyway, so if that habit lowers my risk of heart disease, I’m winning. Especially if it means I don’t have to do any running.

But wait, there’s more. In another article in the Sydney Morning Herald there was this Lifting weights ‘protects the brain from long-term degeneration’. Apparently, a University of Sydney study found that the areas of the brain affected by Alzheimer’s disease are protected for a year after weight training. (once again, standard caveats apply).

Of course other lifestyle factors such as smoking, drinking, drug intake and the food you eat is going to have an effect on your health as well, but I think weight training is so beneficial that everyone should do it anyway.

The thing is, you don’t have to do a lot of weight training to pack on muscle. In fact in my view less is more.

There is the often repeated gym fable  of the guy who can’t put on muscle no matter what he does – set after punishing set – and the guy who just seems to look at a weight and put on muscle. The moral of the story is supposed to be that some guys are more genetically gifted than others and put on muscle so much more easily than so-called “hard gainers”.

But what if there is an alternative narrative? What if the guy who seems to put on muscle just by looking at a weight is training the right amount? That the guy who works so hard is actually doing far too much?

I often repeat the question, do you want results, or do you want to work hard? Results are the only thing that matter. This is why this blog is call No Brain No Gain. It is an entreaty to people who read this blog to stop and reflect on what they’re doing and ask themselves “Is this the path to the best results for myself?”.

In my experience, every time I have cut back the amount of work I do on the weights I have put on more muscle and got stronger.

So if you’re saying, “I don’t have time to lift weights”, I say, well that’s great but do you really want to miss out on the benefits of a lower risk of heart disease and Alzheimer’s?

No time? Look, 3 sets of bench press and 3 sets of squats twice a week will pack on muscle and should only take you about half an hour tops. If you can’t find one hour a week to get all the benefits a bit of weight training has to offer, well why are you even reading this.

On this site there are numerous articles on weight training. For example the 5×5 routine – a favourite of Arnold’s idol Reg Park. Simple and effective. Have a look at some, find something you like and get lifting.


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