Step Five of the Perfect Workout: Strength Training
I almost forgot I had a few steps to go in describing my perfect workout.
Here is why (David Letterman style) I think strength training needs to be a key component in your workout–especially if you have CF:
10) You can seriously increase your appetite, especially if you are doing a heavy lifting program. Lifting heavy and the consequent eating like a horse is how I gained six pounds in six weeks. Doesn’t sound like much, I know, but it’s about 6% of my body-weight (you do the math). The only time I’ve ever been able to gain that much weight was the first year of college. Man did I love that all-you-can-eat cafeteria.
9) It’s great to beat your son at arm-wrestling. OK, so he’s only 12.
8) Maintaining bone density is pretty important, unless you want to crumble into a heap of skin and bones in your old age. Yes, I did say ‘old age.’ It will happen.
7) In CFTR-able people (code name for those without CF), lifting weights increases insulin sensitivity. There is no reason to think this won’t be true in CF as well. If you CFRD or are on the verge, or, if you don’t want to develop CFRD, a little weight training can absolutely not hurt!
6) You get to buy new clothes when you ‘outgrow’ your old shirts, pants, etc. Ladies, don’t worry–I’m kidding.
5) Who wants to be soft? Weight training will firm up those abs and legs and arms in very little time. Try it. You will be amazed. In addition, who wants to be skinny and wimpy? This will not be the case if you adhere to a regular lifting schedule.
4) Being stronger will make the regular chores of life easier. Easier means requiring less energy. Requiring less energy means requiring less oxygen. Less oxygen required means even if you have sucky lungs–that’s a technical term–you will still be able to carry on, soldier.
3) Coughing is easier and more effective if you have strong abdominal muscles. This is just true. Given that we cough, and the effectiveness of our coughs is directly proportional to our health…strong abs are very important.
2) Let’s face it, body image can be impaired in CF. It’s not hard to imagine why this is true, but this is a very important issue, especially in kids. One very good way to improve body image is to develop muscle. Development of muscle is not impaired in CF (as long as you eat and digest food). We can ALL do it. And when you do develop muscle that is visible to the naked eye…you feel better about the way you look. Even if you cough. Even if your fingernails look funny.
1) I left this for last because it is my favorite reason to lift. You are in control when you lift. Not CF. CF doesn’t affect your strength. CF doesn’t stop you from developing strong muscles. There is absolutely no difference between you and normal Joe GymRat, when it comes to getting strong. Booyah.
These are good reasons to add resistance training to your workout. The next post will discuss how to design your program.