Can Strength Training Help You Live Longer And Pain-Free?

Can Strength Training Help You Live Longer And Pain-Free?

Woman holding neck wanting to Live Pain Free

Accepting illness and physical deterioration used to be the norm because we just didn't know any better. It was all just a part of getting old. 

But now that we know better, we can do better. Our health is in our control even as we age.

The same is true for health. Pain, independence, and premature death are common age-related concerns for many adults. These concerns, though, are just that: concerns. They aren’t guaranteed. 

In fact, there are specific approaches you can take to avoid these side effects of aging. In this article, we’ll address how strength training is one of those approaches.

The Most Common Age-related Concerns that can be avoided with Strength Training

Living With Pain.

According to the CDC, 49.6% of seniors have diagnosed arthritis. This produces a number of side effects, which can vary depending on what joints have arthritis. Common side effects are issues with walking form, limited range of motion, limited function, disability, and pain.

Losing Independence.

About one in every 14 seniors require personal care assistance, according to the CDC. About one in every six adults age 85 years and older live in a nursing home. 


The loss of independence is due to a few factors. Arthritis and other sources of pain limit physical abilities and could lead to relying on others. Strength is one of the biggest factors in determining how well we can physically function.

We lose about 3-8% of our strength per decade, which adds up when reaching our older years. Independence is also lost when major injuries occur and the individual never fully recovers. 

About a third of older adults suffer at least one fall every year. The CDC states that 20-30% of falls lead to injury. Some injuries, such as hip fractures, lead to the permanent loss of independence

Premature Death.

The average adult lives 79 years in the US. However, many don’t reach this point for a variety of reasons: 

the onset of chronic disease, a lack of exercise and overall movement, and many other reasons. 


(If you’re reading this and are thinking, “This is bringing me down.” …keep reading. There’s a happy ending.)


As noted at the beginning, you have a lot of control in what happens with your life. You can take actions to improve your health and longevity. Starting and maintaining a strength training program can prevent or decrease pain, maintain independence, and lengthen your life.


Don’t take our word for it, though. Let’s look at the research:

    • Arthritis/Pain. A few months of twice-weekly strength training substantially reduced arthritis pain, disability, and improved joint range of motion. Training also led to big improvements in strength for the muscles that support the arthritic joints.
    • Fall Risk. A research review which included over 100 studies showed that strength training decreases the risk of falls for older adults.
    • Physical Functioning. As little as 12 weeks of strength training can increase strength and balance in adults between 85 and 97 years old! The increase in strength translates to greater ease with general daily activities: walking long distances, walking upstairs, carrying groceries, etc.
    • Longevity. People who strength train are more likely to live longer lives. A 15-year study of adults 65 years and older showed that strength training at least twice per week was connected with a 46% reduced risk of death. In other words, strength training was linked to one in every two adults living a longer life.

If you take anything from this article, remember this: many side effects of aging are optional. You have control over how you age. You also have an influence on how long you live. 

As the research showed, strength training twice a week can reduce pain, enhance overall function, add strength, build balance, reduce the chances of falling, and might increase your life expectancy.

With slow-motion strength training, we can revolutionize the way people exercise… and live! Share with a friend today,

New to The Perfect Workout? Get a FREE Introductory Session.

  1. Baker, K. R., Nelson, M. E., Felson, D. T., Layne, J. E., Sarno, R., & Roubenoff, R. (2001). The efficacy of home based progressive strength training in older adults with knee osteoarthritis: a randomized controlled trial.  Journal of Rheumatology, 28, 1655–166.
  2. Cadore, E. L., Casas-Herrero, A., Zambom-Ferraresi, F., Idoate, F., Millor, N., Gómez, M.,…& Izquierdo, M. (2014). Multicomponent exercises including muscle power training enhance muscle mass, power output, and functional outcomes in institutionalized frail nonagenarians. Age36(2), 773-785.
  3. El-Khoury, F., Cassou, B., Charles, M. A., & Dargent-Molina, P. (2013). The effect of fall prevention exercise programmes on fall induced injuries in community dwelling older adults: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Bmj347, f6234.
  4. Foroughi N., Smith  R. M., Lange, A. K., Baker, M. K., Fiatarone Singh, M.A.,  & Vanwanselle, B. (2011). Lower limb muscle strengthening does not change frontal plane moments in women with knee osteoarthritis: A randomized controlled trial. Clinical Biomechanics, 26, 167-174.
  5. Kraschenewski, J. L., Sciamanna, C. N., Poger, J. M., Rovniak, L. S., Lehman, E. B., Cooper, A.B., … Ciccolo, J. T. (2016). Is strength training associated with mortality benefits? A 15 year cohort study of US older adults. Preventative Medicine, 87, 121-127.
  6. Serra‐Rexach, J. A., Bustamante‐Ara, N., Hierro Villarán, M., González Gil, P., Sanz Ibáñez, M. J., Blanco Sanz, N., … & Lucia, A. (2011). Short‐term, light‐to moderate‐intensity exercise training improves leg muscle strength in the oldest old: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society,59(4), 594-602.

Is it Possible to Exercise Too Much? Shifting the Paradigm Around Exercise

Is it Possible to Exercise Too Much?

Shifting the Paradigm Around Exercise

it is possible for an individual to exercise too much, woman ab crunch

“Physician tested, approved.”

“_______ are just what the doctor ordered!”

“The Doctors’ Choice is America’s Choice.”

These slogans came from advertisements during the 1930s, ‘40s, and ‘50s. Do you know what product they are referring to? No, it’s not broccoli. It’s not exercise, reading, or meditation, either. Those ads are referring to…SMOKING CIGARETTES! 

Yes, you read that correctly. From the 1930s to 1950s, cigarettes were advertised as healthful. Yes…”healthy” was used to describe the same cigarettes that can cause lung cancer, heart disease, COPD, asthma, birth defects, a stroke, heart attack, and many other types of cancer. 

This was a widespread belief. Some cigarette companies acknowledged causing a little “throat irritation,” but they were otherwise considered beneficial. 

While the cigarette being healthy is an extreme example, it illustrates a bigger point: beliefs generally held as dogma are often incorrect. 

Other popular examples include Pluto being a major planet in the solar system, humans using only 10% of their brains, and a human’s urine relieving the pain caused by a jellyfish sting (I hope you didn’t learn this firsthand). 

Here’s another example: more exercise is better. Said differently, the belief that people should perform long, intense workouts every day is a common but misguided belief.

And often we get the question – Am I exercising enough? When it’s just as important to ask whether or not it’s possible for an individual to exercise too much.

Joint Health.

We’re all aging, but not necessarily at the same rate. A study out of the University of California at San Francisco assessed the rate at which the knee joint wears down over a four-year period. 

The participants were middle-aged men and women with a large range of exercise habits. The researchers wanted to see if exercise habits were tied to the rate of arthritis development. 

What did they find? People who exercised a moderate amount were the most likely to preserve their joint health. The people who did little to no exercise AND the people who exercised a large amount both had more cartilage breakdown. 

The results indicate that people who don't exercise and people who exercise very often are on a quicker track to arthritis.

Knee Arthritis from too much exercise

Weight and Metabolism.

Our bodies are clever machines that have “negative feedback loops.” These feedback loops work to counteract some kind of stimulus. For example, when our blood sugar is excessively high, we produce more blood-sugar lowering hormones (insulin). 

A negative feedback loop also occurs when we exercise very often

One example was in a study from Laval University in Quebec. Young men exercised intensely on a daily basis for a few months. At the end of the study, the participants’ metabolic rate decreased by eight percent. The men also experienced a reduction in several hormones, including a thyroid hormone (T3). 

decreased Metabolism from exercising too much

The University of Alabama at Birmingham published a study that showed a similar effect. Older women exercised anywhere from 2-6 days per week for four months. Women who did 2-4 days of strength training and other activities (e.g. walking) per week actually became more active outside of their workouts. (Maybe they gained more energy?). 

Women who performed six days of exercise and activity per week were less active outside of their sessions and lost less weight than the other groups. Learn More about how to lose fat and only fat.

The takeaway: the body seems to fight back when pushed to exercise intensely on a daily or near-daily basis. Perhaps the body is trying to tell us something?

Strength.

You’ve likely heard at least one member of The Perfect Workout family say that the results happen between the workouts. The workouts are actually only a stimulus for change. The stimulus translates into change as you rest between your workouts. 

This is not a lie. Multiple research reviews, which make recommendations based on the findings of many studies, suggest 72 hours as the shortest possible rest period between training sessions on the same muscle groups. 

When training after a shorter rest period, muscles are actually weaker in the second workout. Why? They haven’t recovered yet from the first workout.

Don't exercise too much, rest between workouts

You Can Have Too Much of a Good Thing.

Exercise is one of the most healthy habits we can practice. However, similar to a medication or a supplement, there is a healthy amount and an excessive amount. Intense exercise on a near-daily basis can lead to counter responses from our body and limit strength gains.

It’s time to shift the paradigm on how we see exercise. It’s a potent habit that is best applied briefly and infrequently to maximize your health and fitness.

Valuing your health and exercise should be at the top of your priority list,  but it doesn’t need to fill up your calendar.

Imagine what you could gain from saving time in your week getting a more efficient workout.

Whether you’re looking to get stronger, carve out more time to play golf, or simply keep up with the grandkids, all you need is 20 minutes, twice a week.

  1. Hunter, G. R., Bickel, C. S., Fisher, G., Neumeier, W., & McCarthy, J. (2013). Combined aerobic/strength training and energy expenditure in older women. Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise, 45(7).
  2. Kraemer, W.J. & Ratamess, N.A. (2004). Fundamentals of resistance training: Progression and exercise prescription. Physical Fitness and Performance, 36(4), 674-688.
  3. Lin, W., Alizai, H., Joseph, G. B., Srikhum, W., Nevitt, M. C., Lynch, J. A., … & Link, T. M. (2013). Physical activity in relation to knee cartilage T2 progression measured with 3 T MRI over a period of 4 years: data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, 21(10), 1558-1566.
  4. Tan, B. (1999). Manipulating resistance training program variables to optimize maximum strength in men: A review. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 13(3), 298-304.
  5. Tremblay, A., Poehlman, E.T., Després, J.P., Theriault, G., Danforth, E., & Bouchard, C. (1997). Endurance training with constant energy intake in identical twins: changes over time in energy expenditure and related hormones. Metabolism, 46(5), 499-503.

Can Strength Training Help Multiple Sclerosis?

Can Strength Training Help Multiple Sclerosis?

Can Strength Training Help Multiple Sclerosis

With multiple sclerosis (MS), it can feel like your life is out of your control. People with chronic diseases like MS are two-to-three times more likely to suffer from depression. And although feeling discouraged when dealing with a chronic health issue is understandable, studies show that mindset can play a powerful part in the journey to managing a disease like MS. 

Those who feel like they have control over their health often have better health outcomes. This isn’t just a testament to the power of positive thinking; people who believe they have control are more likely to regularly participate in healthy behaviors. Those behaviors can influence factors such as lifespan, quality of life, and whether the condition progresses.

Multiple sclerosis is no exception. While it can be a daunting condition, health habits have a large impact on how – and if – the condition progresses. One of these health habits is strength training.

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

Before getting into the benefits of strength training, let’s talk about Multiple Sclerosis. MS is an autoimmune disease that affects about a million Americans and over 2.3 million people worldwide. 

The affected population is growing too, with an increase over 300% since the 1990s. There is no known cause of MS. Genetics and environment both play a role in the risk of developing the disease, with family members and those in locations with less sunlight seeming to be at the greatest risk. Women are also at a greater risk, with diagnosis most commonly occurring between 20 and 50 years old.

MS features lesions on the myelin sheath, which is a tissue that covers nerves. The sheath helps with delivering messages quickly to other parts of the body. When it’s damaged, the ability of the central nervous system to communicate with other parts of the body is affected. 

 

People with MS experience a number of potential challenges as a result: 

  • Difficulty with walking
  • Fatigue
  • Strength loss
  • Heat intolerance
  • Dizziness
  • Balance issues
  • Difficulty with precise movements and other symptoms.
How can Strength Training help Multiple Sclerosis Diagram
mage source: Healthline

Strength Training and MS

The symptoms and MS’s progression are not guaranteed, though. An article authored by researchers in Denmark detailed the results of 16 strength training research programs for those who are living with MS. A number of benefits were observed. 

Strength training leads to a reduction in fatigue, one of the most common MS symptoms. Strength training enhances overall mood, lower body strength, and balance. Perhaps stemming from the increase in strength and balance, training led to more ease with daily activities. These activities include walking long distances, standing from chairs, and stair-climbing. The majority of studies showed these benefits were obtained from training twice per week.

All of the above benefits are meaningful contributions to quality of life. There might be a more important benefit, though. Strength training might stop MS progression. Those who strength trained for six months experienced a lack of lesion growth during that time. The researchers also observed that strength training might even help the brain tissue regrow!

Is Strength Training Safe for Those With MS?

These benefits all sound promising, but there’s an important question to ask: Is strength training safe for those with multiple sclerosis? 

In the 16 studies discussed in the Danish research article, workout session attendance ranged from 90-100%. Drop-out rates ranged from 0-13%. No major injuries or side effects were reported in any study. In short, people with MS made almost all of their workouts, the vast majority of people finished their workout program obligations, and no major issues occurred. 

The Perfect Workout is uniquely advantageous for people with MS. As noted before, those with MS often have an intolerance for heat. The Perfect Workout studios are clinically controlled environments, keeping the temperature between 65-68 degrees and fans that can be used upon request. All studios have water coolers with available cold water. (Even if you’re Virtually Training, the brief nature of the 20-minute workout leaves little time to work up a sweat.) In addition, every client has a dedicated Personal Trainer who tailors the workout to the client’s needs and challenges.

If you have MS, don’t let the disease control your future. Control your own future. Strength train twice per week to reduce fatigue, enhance strength and balance, make daily activities easier, and possibly halt the progression of MS.

  1. Helgeson, V.S. & Zajdel, M. (2017). Adjusting to chronic health conditions. Annual Review of Psychology, 68(1), 545-571. 
  2. Kjolhede, T., Vissing, & Dalgas, U. (2011). Multiple sclerosis and progressive resistance training: a systematic review. Multiple Sclerosis Journal, 0(0), 1-14. 
  3. Kjolhede, T., Siemonsen, S., Wenzel, D., Stellmann, J.P., Ringgaard, S., Pedersen, B.G., …Dalgas, U. (2017). Can resistance training impact MRI outcomes in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis? Multiple Sclerosis Journal, DOI: 10/1177/1352458517722645.
  4. Cobb-Clark, D.A., de New, S.C., & Schurer, S. (2014). Healthy habits: the connection between diet, exercise, and locus of control. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 98, 1-28.   Link: https://www.iza.org/publications/dp/6789/healthy-habits-the-connection-between-diet-exercise-and-locus-of-control
  5. Berglund, E., Lystsy, P., & Westerling, R. (2014). The influence of locus of control on self-rated health in context of chronic disease: a structural modeling approach in a cross sectional study. BMC Public Health, 14, 492.      Link: https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2458-14-492

How Many Calories Do You Burn During a Workout vs. After?

One of the most common questions we hear is, “How many calories did I burn from my workout?”

To help answer that question, let’s talk money.

The traditional method for making money is exchanging time for money. 

You finish a project or complete a few days of work, and you’re compensated for those hours or work that you completed. You work 40 hours in a week and you’re paid for that week in the following paycheck. It’s a one-time compensation for the work completed. This is the common model of making money, and the traditional lens through which people think about burning calories.

Another way to make money is receiving residual income. A person works to complete a product or service, then receives ongoing payments or royalties after the work is already done. An example of this is writing a book and receiving continued payments for the book as it continues to sell. 

For many, the most valued benefit of exercise is that it “burns” calories, which can help with weight loss or maintaining weight loss (calories are technically “expended,” but “burned” is the more popular phrase). 

Traditionally, we look at exercise through the “time for money” model. We judge exercise by how many calories we burned during the workout, as if a workout was a one-time payment. Viewing exercise in this way is both right and wrong. 

Exercise is exchanging time for calories burned, but workouts also have residual benefits where you continue to burn calories after the workout. This is especially true for exercise at The Perfect Workout.

The Perfect Workout Client Strength Training

Calories Burned During the Workout

Hustling through your session at The Perfect Workout must count for something, right? Yes! 

The effort you put into moving quickly through your exercises makes the training more beneficial in a few ways, including increasing the calories burned during your workout. 

According to data from Harvard Health Publishing, exercise similar to The Perfect Workout burns about 4-8 calories per minute. 

Calories burned per minute are influenced by whether a person truly reaches “muscle success” on each exercise, how quickly a person moves when transitioning between exercises, and by how much the person weighs (heavier people burn more calories when working at the same intensity).

Using the Harvard data, a 20-minute session could expend 80 to 160 calories.

Calories Burned After the Workout

As noted before, The Perfect Workout burns calories not only during the session but with residual calories after the workout as well. 

A study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology showed that a single workout can increase metabolism up to 72 hours afterwards. The metabolism increase in the study was about 70-90 extra calories burned per day. 

This post-workout benefit doesn’t happen with all types of activity. Most activities, such as walking, riding a bike, and jogging, are limited to the calories burned only during the activity. 

Strength training’s intensity boosts metabolism for a prolonged period due to a few factors: 

  • replenishing stored glucose
  • converting lactic acid into glucose
  • elevated levels of some neurotransmitters and hormones
  • returning core temperature and breathing rate to normal levels

In slow-motion strength training workouts, you burn calories during the session and for days after. Evaluating The Perfect Workout through the traditional lens of only calories burned during the session would underestimate it’s value because you forget about all the calories you burn AFTER the workout. 

Combining the workout and post-workout estimates, a workout could burn anywhere from 200 to 340 calories. When considering that this all comes from a single 15-20-minute session, the calories spent for your work is definitely a return on investment.

New to slow-motion strength training? Try an Intro Workout today!

Strength Training: Exercise for ALL Ages

Strength Training for All Ages

My friend recently decided to “retire” from playing full-court basketball. Since his 43rd birthday, he’s suffered a few aches, pains, and minor injuries after each day of full-court games with younger friends. He is now going to opt for half-court games with friends, which involves much less running. “Full-court basketball is a young man’s game,” he told me. “I had to stop playing at some point.”

Full-court basketball, all-nighters, dying one’s hair pink…there are some things that we enjoy in our teens and early 20s but aren’t a good fit for adulthood. Strength training…is NOT one of those things.

Strength training is a lifelong exercise choice. It’s safe and effective, regardless of age. The goals people have for strength training generally change with age. However, the probability of reaching those goals doesn’t change. Whether 35 or 95 years old, strength training will improve your health and fitness.

A Workout For All Ages

Whether you're a busy mom looking for something quick and efficient, or a senior in need of a safe way to exercise you age, we have a program for you. While each body is unique, our principles of exercise remain the same – this allows us to serve people of all ages and abilities. Select your age range below to learn more about The Perfect Workout for you.

Before we get to talking results, let’s talk safety. Strength training, especially using The Perfect Workout’s slow-speed method, is extremely cautious. Injuries in exercise and sports are caused by an excess of force on tendons, ligaments, bones, or other tissues in the body. The lack of bouncing, jumping, and rapid movements make strength training an activity with very little force, even when a very challenging weight is used. While the exercises are challenging, they do not put an extreme level of stress on the body. 

If strength training was dangerous, the highest risk population for experiencing injuries would likely be older adults. Therefore, let’s look at the injury rate for older adults who strength train. A research article published in the journal Sports Medicine discussed the results of 22 studies with adults, 75 years old and older. Out of the 880 older adults who strength trained in these studies, only one person had a negative health experience. Just one person! The conclusion: strength training is very safe and highly unlikely to cause injury. 

Safety is important, but we also want results. Strength training leads to many health and fitness benefits. The needs and goals for strength training often differ with age. Let’s discuss what strength training offers people at the various stages in their lives.

Strength Training in Your Twenties and Thirties

Strength training provides a range of benefits for younger adults. Men and women can gain strength and muscle within two months. That muscle also enhances male and female attractiveness, according to studies on physical characteristics that men and women find appealing.

Adult athletes also benefit from strength training. Long distance times, sprint speed, and vertical jump all improve after a few months of training. In addition to performance, athletes also become more resistant to injury.

strength training in your 30s

Strength Training in Your Forties and Fifties

The same athletic benefits apply to adults in their 40s and 50s. In addition to the aforementioned running benefits, men and women can improve their golf game through strength training. Three months of strength training increases driving distance by seven percent while also reducing the risk of common golf injuries (i.e. lower back pain). 

Reducing or preventing lower back pain, plus enhanced strength and muscle, are benefits for all adults in this age range. Other important benefits are preventing age-related weight gain, improving sleep quality, and reducing the risk of chronic diseases that often occur in this age range. Examples of those diseases include heart disease, many types of cancers, and type 2 diabetes.

strength training in your 40s

Strength Training in Your Sixties and Afterwards

Muscles aren’t a “young man’s game.” Men and women of all ages can gain both strength and muscle. The previously mentioned research article from the journal Sports Medicine showed that just 1-3 days of strength training per week led to big improvements in strength and muscle size for adults who are 75 years old or older. Other benefits frequently experienced by those 60 years or older are stronger bones, improved balance, a lower fall risk, enhanced memory and focus, reduced blood pressure and blood glucose, and increased protection against the development of many chronic diseases.

strength training in your 60s

Strength training offers a wide array of benefits, for fitness and health. While you might eventually retire from all-night parties and playing full-court basketball, there’s no need to retire from strength training. Strength training is safe and healthful exercise for life.

Alvarez, M., Sedano, S., Cuadrado, G., & Redondo, J.C. (2012). Effects of an 18-week strength training program on low-handicap golfers performance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 26(4), 1110-1121. 

Grgic, J., Garofolini, A., Orazem, J., Sabol, F., Schoenfeld, B.J., & Pedisic, Z. (2020). Effects of resistance training on muscle size and strength in very elderly adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Sports Medicine, 1-17.

Nickols-Richardson, S. M., Miller, L. E., Wootten, D. F., Ramp, W. K., & Herbert, W. G. (2007). Concentric and eccentric isokinetic resistance training similarly increases muscular strength, fat-free soft tissue mass, and specific bone mineral measurements in young women. Osteoporosis international, 18(6), 789-796.

Paw, M.J., Chin, A., Van Uffelen, J.G., Riphagen, I., & Van Mechelen, W. (2008). The functional effects of physical exercise training in frail older people: a systematic review. Sports Medicine, 38(9), 781-793.

Sell, A., Lukazsweski, A.W., & Townsley, M. (2017). Cues of upper body strength account for most of the variance in men’s bodily attractiveness. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 284(1869).

Singh, D. (1993). Adaptive significance of female physical attractiveness: role of waist-to-hip ratio. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65(2), 293-307.

Winett, R.A. & Carpinelli, R.N. (2002). Potential health-related benefits of resistance training. Preventive Medicine, 33(5), 503-513.

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