Neurosurgeon says strength training best defense against aging, disease

As if you should need any more reasons to exercise, here’s one more great one: strength training is the best defense against aging and disease.
“Our ability to fight off disease resides in our muscles,” according to Dr. Brett Osborn, author of “Get Serious, A Neurosurgeon’s Guide to Optimal Health and Fitness.” “The greatest thing you can do for your body is to build muscle.”
Dr. Osborn points to a major study conducted over nearly two decades of approximately 9,000 men ranging in age from 20-80. The men still alive on average were those with the most muscular strength. (BMJ, formerly British Medical Journal, 2008).
Muscle is made up of protein, which is “nothing but good for you,” Dr. Osborn stated.
On the other hand, when a person has excess fat, it releases potentially harmful hormones and other chemicals. The extra fat leads to a disrupted flow of excess biochemicals, which can increase insulin resistance and boost risk factors for stroke and high blood pressure, among other problems.
“Increased cytokines, an immune system chemical, for example, are associated with increased risk for cardiovascular disease,” Dr. Osborn says. “You’re only as old as your arteries!”
No matter a person’s size or age, they can benefit from strength training exercises.
Dr. Osborn recommends this basic strength training regimen to build around:
* Squats – A full-body exercise, they can generate a robust hormonal response as numerous muscular structures are traumatized during the movement (even your biceps)
* Overhead presses – Engage the shoulders, arms and chest.
* Deadlifts – Work the large muscles of your backside and the front of your thighs.
* Bench press – Targets the chest, shoulders and triceps and also can result in a big hormonal response.
* Pull-up / chin-up – Difficult for most people to do, but great for upper body muscle development.

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