ONE MORE REP
by Jay Lusk, PT, DPT
Meathead. Beefcake. Gym Rat. I could keep going, but I think you get the point. Often these words are associated with people that spend a lot of time in the gym. I may or may not have been called these a time or two. I have no problem admitting I have an addiction to the gym. We’re told the first step in overcoming an addiction is admitting you a have a problem, right? Well, what if I told you it’s not a problem, but has actually provided me many life lessons as well as benefitting my health.
You might ask, how has this taught you life lessons? For starters, I think one of the hardest things in life is not to be complacent. Personally, I know I get that way at times, and it keeps me from striving to be my very best. If you have ever attempted an exercise regimen, you will quickly realize if you are complacent with your workout you will never make any progress. The atmosphere of a gym, however, forces you to always strive for more-push a little harder, attempt that extra rep. I try to carry that over to other aspects in my life, as I continually push to be a better person and a better therapist.
Another thing that I have learned from the gym is to be humble. If you have ever taken a few weeks or months off and tried to come back and perform the way you did before, you have probably received a brisk slap in the face. I feel that in life, it’s important to understand that sometimes we aren’t going to know everything, or be the best at everything. But, you must continue to make strides and keep pushing on. At Dynamix, we talk a lot about core values and what we want to represent as a company. One of our core values is to be humble, and it is easy to see why this is so important in our field. If you don’t maintain humbleness, you aren’t allowing yourself to become better and to grow as a therapist.
THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF RESISTANCE TRAINING
One of the reasons I got into physical therapy is my passion for fitness. It provides me with the platform to promote a healthier lifestyle for my patients. I have touched on how I have become hooked on the gym and how I apply it to my life. Now let’s look at some of the health benefits associated with resistance training.
As healthcare continues to advance, we are going to continue to see people living longer. Research has shown that strength starts slowly declining beginning in our thirties. Once we reach age 60, we experience on average around a 15-20% decline in overall strength. After age 70, those percentages of loss continue to increase significantly. But did you know if you maintain a very active lifestyle, these declines in strength can be slowed? Research has found that the rate of decrease in strength is significantly lower in adults who remain very active.
Often we become more sedentary as we get older, and this leads to deconditioning a lot faster than you might imagine. A study conducted with healthy 60-72 year old males who participated in a 12 week resistance training program found that these men made substantial increases in strength, and were even close to the same amount of gains made by younger adults. Another study of men and women between the ages of 70-89 found that a resistance training program prevented loss of muscle strength as well as decreasing body fat percentage. I point these findings out to stress the point that no matter our age, we can still receive benefits from a strength training program. It’s never too late.
I encourage you all to remain active and find ways to incorporate physical activity in your life. Don’t be complacent. Stay humble. Keep striving to be better, and push for that one extra rep.
McArdle W, Katch F, Katch V. Exercise Physiology, Nutrition, Energy, and Human Performance. (7)845. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2010.
Kisner C, Colby LA. Therapeutic Exercise, Foundations and Techniques. F.A. Davis;2012.