Dumbbell’s Protection Against Aging

Although weight training is now accepted as a necessary part of every exercise routine, it’s still in competition against many of today’s hyped up work-outs. As wonderful as exercise (in any form) is, nothing protects against aging as does strength training simply with a set of dumbbells!

This is for a number of reasons! What provides protection against the many harmful effects of aging is muscle mass, growth hormone, heart capacity, vessel integrity, and oxygen saturation capacity; all of which are benefits of resistance type workouts best achieved through weight-training.

Scientific research has shown that exercise can slow the physiological aging clock. While aerobic exercise, such as walking, jogging, or swimming, has many excellent health benefits—it maintains the heart and lungs and increases cardiovascular fitness and endurance—it does not make your muscles strong. Strength training does. Studies have shown that lifting weights two or three times a week increases strength by building muscle mass and bone density. One 12-month study conducted on postmenopausal women at Tufts University demonstrated 1% gains in hip and spine bone density, 75% increases in strength and 13% increases in dynamic balance with just two days per week of progressive strength training. The control group had losses in bone, strength, and balance. Strength training programs can also have a profound effect on reducing risk for falls, which translates to fewer fractures (1).

Growth hormone as the name implies facilitates growth and regeneration. This hormone is at its peak during adolescence and it’s production gradually tapers off as we age. Growth Hormone has been shown to:

  • Increase bone density
  • Increase muscle mass
  • Decrease body fat
  • Increase exercise capacity
  • Improve Skin Elasticity

As you may be aware, growth hormone replacement therapy was the latest anti-aging fad a few years ago! However taking synthetic growth hormone internally has been found to have a number of side effects. Research however has found that resistance exercise alone can achieve the benefits of growth hormone therapy. In one study the addition of growth hormone along with resistance exercise did not result in any additional improvements (2). The researchers therefore concluded that “going to the gym is beneficial and certainly cheaper than growth hormone [therapy]”. So, why not use the benefits of such an effective hormone by increasing our body’s natural production through resistance training?

Keep in mind however, that only resistance training that is high in intensity, utilizing 8-10 repetitions, heavy resistance and a maximum of one minute rest between sets will maximize serum growth hormone levels!

If you need help in getting started in your strength training routine, please seek the help of a professional advisor  (certified trainer, licensed naturopath or your medical doctor) for best results and to prevent injury!

NOTE: For best results it is always advisable to combine your goals with a measurable criteria to best evaluate your achievements! A great tool for tracking increases in muscle mass and body fat loss is through the use of a Bio Impedance Analysis machine. Feasible (no need to submerge under water for body fat % analysis) and accurate, it is  a favourite among my patients aiming to alter their body composition by increasing their lean body mass while lowering body fat!

1. “Growing Stronger – Strength Training for Older Adults.” Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/growingstronger/why/index.html
2. Vance, ML. 2003. Can Growth Hormone Prevent Aging. N Engl J Med 2003; 348:779-780

About Negin

Graduate of natropathic Medicine based in London, Ontario
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5 Responses to Dumbbell’s Protection Against Aging

  1. Anonymous says:

    Great article and practical advice. Thanks again 🙂

    • Anonymous says:

      Would you recommend any particular natural supplements to help this process along?

      p.s. i’ve been taking fish oil since reading your article on it, and can already attest to its benefits… love this site!

      • NDNegin says:

        Dear Anonymous,
        Thanks for your comment and I appreciate your feedback! If you’re referring to the process that resistance training induces, you want to ensure an adequate intake of protein and anti-oxidants to support your body as it builds muscle and releases toxins (normally stored in fat cells). The supplement company Metagenics has a number of professional products to aid this process (of increasing muscle mass while lowering body fat). They include their Medical Foods and a number of supplements and cleansing products that remove potential obstacles to fat loss and assist the body’s natural -muscle, bone and skin- building processes. To learn more about these products please visit the ‘products’ page under ‘Services’. You might like to take advantage of some of the great products I have listed 🙂
        ***and please remember this is only a forum for discussions on the basics of health and are not meant to diagnose or treat any specific condition. Always consult matters pertaining to your health with a licensed health professional.

  2. Anonymous says:

    This is fantastic! So again it’s not really about the length/duration of the workout session, but the intensity of it with a focus on strength training.

    • NDNegin says:

      Duration is important only when it concerns ensuring that you’ve worked out every muscle group to their full capacity. Usually with strength training that is ~40 minutes/session no more than 3days/week as you want to give your muscles a chance to recuperate.

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