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Women of All Ages Can Benefit From Strength Training

July 20, 2010

Legacy Program Fits Your Individual Needs

When you think about strength training, do you envision a bunch of sweaty fitness buffs lifting weights? The reality is strength training is for everyone. It benefits people of all ages and physical conditions, and can even help those recovering from injuries and illness.

"Strength training has so many health benefits, particularly for women," said Leon Jones, certified trainer for the Legacy Strength Training Program. "It helps to raise your metabolism so you can lose weight easier, improves bone density, and increases your stamina"

He will present "Strength Training for Stronger Bones and Health" from 7 to 8 p.m. on Monday, July 26, at the Washington Women’s Center, part of an evening lecture series for women. The Washington Women’s Center is located at 2500 Mowry Avenue in Fremont. To reserve a space, register online at www.whhs.com or call (510) 608-1301.

Jones will talk about the benefits of strength training and provide an overview of the Legacy Strength Training Program, located at the Washington Outpatient Rehabilitation Center. The Legacy Program is a unique strength training program that focuses on slow, intense movements rather than fast repetitions.

"Increasing metabolic rate is an important benefit for women, particularly as they age," said Kathy Hesser, Washington Women’s Center coordinator. "Our metabolism naturally slows down, making it harder to lose weight."

Bone density is another important issue. Increasing bone density can help to prevent or slow the progression of osteoporosis, she said.

Other benefits include increasing lean muscle mass, improving balance, preventing injuries, and improving overall health and well-being, according to Jones.

"It can also help you stay independent as you age," he added. "Many of the seniors I work with are still able to travel, work in their garden, and basically do the things they enjoy, and they credit strength training."

Personalized Program Gets Results

Jones will explain the personalized approach used by the Legacy Strength Training Program. The scientifically based fitness program is modeled after a strength training program created by the late Gary Lindahl, a well-known local physical therapist who taught Jones the technique. The program at Washington Hospital was named to honor Lindahl’s legacy.

It is based on slow-motion, high-intensity exercises using special weight machines that are adjusted to fit each individual’s needs and limitations. The program is highly individualized. Each participant gets his or her own personal trainer who goes through the routine with them, making sure each machine is adjusted properly and acting as a cheerleader, providing encouragement and coaching as needed.

"When you go to a gym, you may sit down on a machine that was just used by someone a lot taller than you," Jones said. "It’s not set up for you. But unless you know the precise ins and outs of that machine, you won’t be able to adjust it properly. With our program, every machine is adjusted to fit you and whatever physical limitations you might have."

The entire workout takes about 30 minutes and should be performed no more than twice a week, he said. Each repetition uses a 20-second cycle, lifting the weight for 10 seconds and then lowering it for 10 seconds.

According to Jones, the program is much safer than regular weight-lifting due to the slow motion and personal coaching.

"I have had so many women tell me they have injured themselves doing traditional strength training," Hesser said. "But with the Legacy Program, you have your own personal trainer who will make sure you are doing the exercises correctly so you don’t get hurt."

Jones agreed: "This program is perfect for women. It’s tailored to their needs and performed in a comfortable, serene environment. When they see how easy it is when the machine is aligned perfectly for them and they have the support of their trainer, their fears about strength training are gone."

For more details about the Legacy Strength Training Program, visit www.whhs.com/legacy.

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