Anti-Aging Benefits of Strength Training and Weight Lifting

Mike CarragherAge Management, cardiovascular health, Dr. Carragher, heart disease, Hormone Optimization, weight gain, Weight LossLeave a Comment

weightlifting and aerobic exercise


Anti-Aging Benefits of Strength Training and Weight Lifting

The sad truth is that most physicians are severely undertrained when it comes to nutrition and exercise, two of the most crucial components to preventing and treating disease.  During my medical training, we received TWO DAYS of training on nutrition and FIVE DAYS on exercise, if that.  After you read this short article, you will probably know more about exercise than your doctor. So our suggestion? Read it and then give it to your doctor so they can be educated on strength training, longevity, and weight lifting and its anti-aging benefits! 

The Truth About Aerobics 

Has your doctor told you that you should be doing more aerobic exercise to reduce your risk of heart disease, improve your cholesterol levels, and to lose weight and age more healthfully?

They’re right. But only partially. While aerobic exercise and cardiovascular exercise prove beneficial to one’s health and appearance, doctors fail to incorporate the importance of weightlifting and strength training into their diagnosis. It’s very important to understand and recognize the importance of strength training as we age. While aerobic exercise is targeted toward endurance and heart rate, this type of exercise fails to provide resistance, making it relatively easy to perform. Think about it; if you were arm wrestling somebody and your opponent did not use their muscles to resist and fight back, it would take little effort to win the arm wrestle, right? This analogy can be applied to weightlifting; weights are necessary to optimize a workout and, thus, make your body appear younger. In short, weightlifting and anti-aging can really go hand and hand. Even while conducting aerobic exercises such as jogging or swimming, adding even 5-pound weights can make a huge difference.  

The term “aerobics” was coined by Dr. Kenneth Cooper, an M.D. and exercise physiologist, and Col. Pauline Potts, a physical therapist, both in the U.S. Air Force.  Cooper observed that people with muscular strength did not necessarily have endurance.  His research led him to publish the groundbreaking book, Aerobics, in 1968, which described his research and contained exercise programs based on his findings.  From there, “Aerobics,” as we know it, was born.

Aerobics has been defined as “to live in air or with oxygen.” As such, it can be said that all humans are aerobic. Cooper, however, revolutionized the meaning of aerobic by adding the letter “s” at the tail end of the word. Now, aerobics has been correlated more with exercise rather than oxygen. 

Since then, most physicians have recommended primarily aerobic exercise to people as they age, leading to a very common public misconception.  Take a look around at your fitness club or just observe the physical activity people around you do.  For the most part, young people are all lifting weights and older people are all doing cardio.  Aerobic exercise has long been thought to be the best exercise for preventing cardiovascular disease as well as treating it.  So as most people get older, they do less and less weight-bearing exercise. This is not the ideal scenario for healthy aging! The truth is, in fact, we should continue to practice weight lifting as we get older. Strength training anti-aging and weight lifting and anti-aging all correlate and are important to be aware of!

Many doctors tell their patients not to do too much weight-bearing exercise or heavy lifting if they have heart disease. This has been said out of fear that it would be dangerous for them, compromise oxygen flow to the heart, and increase their risk for heart attack.  All of which are not true.

What About Heart Disease?

Recently, the American Heart Association organized a panel of experts that tested this theory-with interesting results.  These scientists advised physicians to begin recommending weight-bearing exercises to their patients, even the ones with heart disease.  The panel went so far as to even recommend weight-bearing exercise to some who even had recent heart attacks, if they are monitored closely. The fact is, BOTH forms of exercise, aerobic and resistance training, work together to prevent, reduce, or even eliminate heart disease.

Furthermore, doctors believe that adults would not be able to handle weightlifting solely due to their older age. This also explains the reasoning behind what we mentioned earlier regarding younger men weightlifting while older adults stick to the elliptical machines at the gym. Most importantly, it shows that weightlifting has NO correlation with heart disease and is not an excuse to skip your workout.

Metabolic Processes

Now, let’s discuss the specific metabolic processes. One way both forms of exercise do this synergistically is by controlling, reversing, or preventing Type 2 Diabetes.  Both forms of exercise help increase insulin sensitivity (so your body metabolizes glucose faster), and both decrease fasting insulin levels and decrease insulin response to glucose (so you store less fat).

Both aerobic and resistance exercise also helps control blood pressure – reducing the risk of stroke, heart attack, and congestive heart failure. Aerobic exercise does a great job of lowering systolic blood pressure (the top number); both aerobic and resistance exercise help reduce diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number). This makes it much easier for the heart to pump blood throughout the body. Both forms of exercise also strengthen the heart muscle, making it work much more efficiently. And with hormones and/or peptides on board, your cardiovascular health will be even better as well as your fat burning potential 

Weightlifting has shown proven results on one’s metabolism and appearance. Low A1c levels are crucial both to make one’s body appear slimmer as well as to combat Type 2 Diabetes: a plague which affects about 1 in 10 Americans (meaning there’s a very good chance that somebody in your family has Type 2 Diabetes).

Additionally, weight-bearing exercise increases hormonal release as we engage fast-twitch and super-fast-twitch muscle fibers anaerobically.  As a result, human growth hormone (HGH), testosterone, and other key hormone recruitment is improved.  Weight-bearing exercise – or more specifically anaerobic exercise – takes advantage of something called the “hormonal effect of exercise,” helping us to increase our metabolism and literally burn fat while we are sleeping!!

Dr. Cooper, the father of Aerobics, has come full circle, now recognizing that as we age we need more and more weight-strength training exercises. Cooper recognizes that up to age 50, people lose about 4% of their strength and muscle mass per decade. After age 50, the loss increases to about 10% per decade. By age 60, the average person will have lost about one-third of his or her muscle mass—UNLESS we reverse the process through resistance exercise and weight training.

What Are the Benefits of Weight Training?

The classic weight training benefits tend to make people look a lot younger than they actually are. Next time you’re at the gym, look around at some of the members and try to guess their age. Then, ask them how old they are and you will be shocked at the answers. Then ask yourself, “What about weightlifting and nutrition causes us to look younger”?

Being physically fit, especially through strength training, improves blood and oxygen circulation throughout the body providing essential nutrients to our organs, including our largest organ-the skin. These nutrients drastically reduce our aging and risk of death by over 44%. It also has a favorable influence on self-image, self-esteem, and depression. This suggests that weightlifting not only makes us look younger, but FEEL younger as well. As mentioned before, strength training anti-aging and weight lifting and anti-aging really can correlate! 

With all that said, what is the best workout routine to optimize anti-aging?  It’s important to do some form of weight-bearing exercise including weightlifting in your routine, And mix up your weight lifting routine as practicing the same exercise daily will result in a plateau effect with results. So don’t forget to “surprise” your muscles with new exercises regularly  And don’t forget to allow at least one day off from the gym to allow your muscles time to recover and strengthen!

Furthermore, adults should focus less on aerobic burst training and more on strength/resistance training and vice versa. More specifically, I recommend the following combination of aerobic burst conditioning and strength training for aging adults. These strength training benefits are crucial to keeping your body healthy later in life. If you are interested in a full hormonal evaluation and consultation contact us at 323-874-9355 or email Our services will ensure you receive the proper workout plan and improve your aging, while proving your doctors wrong once and for all!

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