Gift From Within


Why strength train with a personal trainer?

by Carol Woodbury, CES

carol_200.jpg - 25652 Bytes
Carol Woodbury, co-owner of
Optimum Performance in Rockport,
has over 17 years of personal
training experience. (Photo by Ken Bailey)

As a personal trainer I'm constantly asked questions like: “Isn’t walking enough. I walk two miles a day?” or “Don’t you think I get enough exercise doing chores around the house?”

Although these are great activities, and do provide physical benefit, they do not replace the benefits derived from strength training. Strength training is essential to maintaining a strong body during the aging process. It slows, if not reverses, the aging process by helping to maintain muscle mass that supports the skeleton.

Keep in mind that after the age of 30 to 35, we begin to lose approximately 1 percent of muscle mass each year if we are not strength training. That loss of muscle greatly compromises our skeletal system and ability to remain mobile.

About four years ago I had the opportunity of being at a conference with Jack LaLanne. LaLanne was celebrating his 83rd birthday at the time. He was tested for his present fitness level. According to all of the physical assessments he was put through, he had the body of a 27-year-old male, who was in good physical condition.

Granted, Jack has been at this all of his life but there are numerous, large-scale studies that have proven that strength training can improve the physical condition of people who begin programs even though they were in their 80s.

In Dr. Andrew Weil’s latest newsletter (Creating Natural Health for Your Body and Mind, March 2003), he talks about working with a personal trainer and states the following: “Satisfied customers (like me) feel they’re (personal trainers) worth the expense since the payoff comes in terms of motivation, instruction, and seeing results. Working with a personal trainer has helped me stick to my exercise schedule, use equipment correctly, and develop an individualized program that matches my interests and goals.”

Working with a personal trainer is a good way to begin a strength-training program for all of the reasons Dr. Weil mentions. A trainer can help you to develop good habits such as stretching after exercising. Stretching helps your muscles become stronger through a longer range of motion. They can provide variety in your workouts so you're not easily bored. And, an experienced personal trainer can take you to another level with your exercise.

Not all trainers are equal. Depending upon your physical condition, you want to work with a trainer who is experienced in meeting your needs. Look at certifications, backgrounds and experience level. Never be afraid to interview your trainer. Remember, this is an important relationship you are forming. You want a trainer who will be present with you, speak clearly to you, educate, and generally make the training experience a positive one.

A personal training facility can also train two or three people with one trainer to help make the cost of training more affordable. The rules are the same concerning experience, certifications and background of the trainer. Make certain you are in a place that feels comfortable, safe, and where the staff is dedicated to what they are doing.

Here are some of the benefits you should begin to feel from your strength- training program: More energy; Improved mobility; Greater flexibility; Activities of Daily Life become easier; Elevated spirit (a side effect of exercise is less depression and anxiety); and an Improved immune system.

So, tell me why you aren't strength training?

Personal Trainers can be found through The American Council on Exercise website, the American College of Sports Medicine website, locally through Optimum Performance Personal Training and Group Exercise, Sterling Personal Training and the Penobscot Bay YMCA.

Carol Woodbury, co-owner of Optimum Performance, Personal Training and Group Exercise is certified through the American Council on Exercise as a Clinical Exercise Specialist, Personal Trainer, Lifestyle and Weight Management Consultant and as a T'ai Chi and Chi Kung Instructor through American Aerobics Association International and International Sports Medicine Association and is a Reiki Master. She works with special populations including clients with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue and post-rehabilitative clients.


Read Carol Woodbury's other articles:

Fibromyalgia: What it is and how to manage it
Holiday Stresses - Exercise Helps
How Exercise Helps Symptoms of PTSD
Menopause Is A Natural Part Of A Woman's Lifecycle

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Page created on 18 March 2003
Last updated by David Clarke on 30 August 2003