Walking has numerous benefits for physical health, but Is a daily walk really enough exercise?
By Cheryl Coppa
If living a long and healthy life is part of your desire, then you need to add strength training to the equation. Turns out there is a HUGE connection between aging and one’s muscle mass. It’s a MUST!
Walking is GREAT and if you have this going for you, keep it going! If you don’t have it going for you, this is the perfect time of year to start the habit. Fresh air, sunshine, quiet, nature, or connection with friends and neighbors. Walking can get your heart rate up which is great for your cardiovascular health, and get your lungs working a little and helps keep your body in motion. Especially, as you age, the more you move, the better, since everything seems to slow down and get rusty when you do nothing about it.
As you age you lose muscle mass (this means you start to store more fat and you lose bone density). Sure, there are muscles working when you walk, but only some muscles.
“Having muscle on your body is like armor. It is going to protect all of you. A muscle layer will protect your organs, fill in loose skin and be your personal fat burner!”, Trainer, Cheryl Coppa
Gain Muscle, Burn Fat
Having muscle on your body is like armor. It is going to protect all of you. A muscle layer will protect your organs, fill in loose skin and be your personal fat burner! Muscle burns fat. Building muscle is so much more than fat management, it is health management.
Muscles store blood and stem cells in them. More and more research is coming out that measures longevity and longevity experts agree, muscle mass is one of the top on that list of measuring longevity, accompanied by diet and cardiovascular health. The National Institute on Aging explains that a big culprit for losing our physical abilities as we grow older is the age-related loss of muscle mass and strength… in addition to making everyday tasks difficult, mobility limitations are also linked to higher rates of falls, chronic disease, nursing home admission, and mortality".
Having muscle mass helps control glucose levels, use glucose as fuel, and have a role in insulin resistance.". They even go as far as saying that the culprit of many health problems is not the fat, this is more of the middleman. Rather, the chain of command is the unhealthy muscle tissue. You need the bone density to protect you from falls, you need mobility to be able to get off the ground with ease. You want to be able to take care of yourself and live independently as long as possible. If you want to be a part of your family’s life and play with the kids, nieces and nephews, and grandkids, the prescription is STRENGTH TRAINING!
“Longevity experts agree, muscle mass is one of the top on that list of measuring longevity, accompanied by diet and cardiovascular health”. The National Institute on Aging
When it comes to bone density, for the increase to happen, we need the extra force, in all areas of the body. This is done through strength training with body weight or hand-held weights. You need to feel that burn in your muscles to know you are working hard enough to stimulate that growth in bone density and in muscle mass. And don’t stop when you feel the burn, stay in that burn as long as you can!
How Much Should I be Walking?
I’ll let our exercise physiologist, Shirit Kamil-Rosenberg, EdD answer this. Shirit addressed this in a previous blog. Hint, you don’t really need 10K a day.
How Much Strength Training Should I be Doing?
Think of it like a bank account - the more deposits you make, the better. They don’t even have to be large deposits! I prefer the small frequent ones :) But, anything you can give is going to contribute to that account.
👉🏽 You can start with once a week to really see and feel measurable.
👉🏽 Progress 3 times a week is great:
Three, 30-minute strength training classes a week are perfect.
You might just love it and want to make more deposits and that’s great too!
👉🏽 Make 5 deposits a week. Have a nice cushion in that bank account.
Are You Intimidated by Strength Training?
Strength training might seem intimidating, especially if you have never done it before. Maybe you get these images of meat heads in a gym, or all this equipment that you have no idea how to use, and all the heavyweights. Strength training doesn’t have to look like that. It can be done right at home. Here, at Ola Ka Ola, we have a team of trainers that deliver training ALL DAY long. The training and classes are guided and designed for women using minimal equipment and sometimes even no equipment at all. We are building strength, muscle mass, bone density, flexibility, balance and Core & Pelvic floor health. All from home. Complete opposite of intimidating. Everything is done in your own home with guidance all the way through if you choose. Or, you can navigate your own journey and follow the trainings and exercises On-demand, at your own time.
So no need to give up on your walking, keep that up! Let’s just add the strength gains to it. And guess what? So many of the Ola workouts are simple enough that you can take them outside!
I personally very much look forward to the classes I can teach while getting my tan on and soaking up the vitamin D. It's a great time of year to FALL in love with fitness and feel your absolute BEST! Because you CAN! Yes! Even now, if you have never done this before or you have fallen off the wagon. Make these small deposits to fully fund the days, the years, and even the decades ahead. Truly the most potent and underused drug we have is FITNESS!
We are very proud of the muscles we build in class from home. Check any of the trainers' social media and you will see those flexies!
This is not about building bulky muscle but building longevity, especially for women in their 40's, 50's 60's, and beyond! See you in class!
About Cheryl Coppa
✔️ A certified Core Confidence Specialist (Core and Pelvic Floor retraining)
✔️ A certified Personal Trainer specializing in women's fitness over 40
✔️ Low-Pressure Fitness / Hypopressive certified by creator Dr. Tamara Rial
✔️ Pre/postnatal corrective exercise specialist
✔️Instructor of the Pelvic Floor Health program, Ola Ka Ola
✔️ 40 years young, wife & mother of 3