This week is about strength training, and most of it will be conducted by Stu. He's a world authority on the topic of strength training, which is also known by the term resistance exercise. Weightlifting is a form of strength training. So are body weight exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, and squats. This week, you're going to learn why you need to strength-train for optimal health. Then we'll give you a few hacks to help you get comfortable with strengthening exercises that maximize your health benefits. By the end of this week, you'll know that whatever you call it, strength training or resistance exercise, it's a form of activity that's important for developing and maintaining long-term health and fitness. That's saying a lot, coming from a cardio guy like me. Yeah, I guess I'm just persuasive. The point we want to recognize though, is that many people believe that strength training isn't for them. They might feel intimidated by lifting weights because they think it's only for big, hulking bodybuilders, and only happens in gyms. In fact, everyone should engage in some form of strength training, and the practice becomes more important, not less as you age. Sounds like it's time for you to go to the lab, Stu. To the lab. One of the reasons that I'm excited by this week is that it's a chance to fight the popular perception that it's only with cardio exercise that we see health benefits. If you look at just about all physical fitness guidelines, they suggest that people should engage in strength training of their large muscle groups at least twice per week to reduce the risk of diseases like osteoporosis or soft bones, and to help with activities of daily living as we age. Something as simple as ascending a flight of stairs or rising from a chair. Have you heard of sarcopenia? That's the term that describes the slow loss of muscle that occurs with aging. We're not exactly sure when sarcopenia starts, but somewhere around age 40, we lose an average of about one percent of our muscle mass per year, while our strength declines much more rapidly at rates between 2-3 percent per year. See the long-term trend? As muscle mass declines, our strength decreases, and the regular activities of daily living become harder. That might happen around here. Because muscles do a lot more than just make us look good, it brings up a good moment for a quick multiple choice question. The correct answer is E. We need our muscles everyday for all sorts of activities of daily living. We need them to get upstairs, to get in and out of cars, to lift groceries out of the trunk, and take pots and pans and kitchen implements out of the cupboard. We need them to get up from a chair, the bathtub, even the toilet. People who lift weights fight sarcopenia on a weekly basis with strength training. By doing that, they push out this point that our strength fails as we age. They push it out so far in fact, that some retain the ability to care for themselves right up until the time they die. While we're on the topic of dying, let's also point out that studies show that strength training helps you avoid disease and reduce your odds of dying prematurely. Take this big 2017 study, which used data for more than 80,000 English and Scottish adults over the age of 14. The researchers found that participating in any type of strength training was associated with a 23 percent reduction in all-cause mortality. That means that people who engaged in strength training during the time of the study were less likely to die. But wait, there's more. Just 30 minutes per week of strength training in man has been shown to provide similar reductions in risk for heart attack as two and a half hours of brisk walking. Thanks to all of this good stuff, you might be tempted to wonder what can't strength training do? Well, strength training can't mark term papers or apply for research grants, and it can't sweep your kitchen floor, or play sports with your kids. But hopefully, by now, you're getting the idea that strength training is associated with some pretty unique benefits. You've grasped that it's an important thing to do, particularly as you get older. Now, for a quick series of questions to assess what you've learned. Before I leave you, I want to get you thinking about how strength training could be important for you in your life. Think about the activities that you do, and then create a discussion post that describes them in some way that being stronger might help you. Could be anything; lifting a child, transporting laundry from one room to another. Then once you've described the strength training that could help you, seek out on another discussion post on the same topic and reply to the ones that have mentioned things you didn't consider. In the next video, I'm going to describe the precise mechanism that the body uses when building strength which will help you learn why it's so important. Later in the week, I'll provide some easy and unintimidating ways that almost anybody can engage in strength training.