Sunday, July 17, 2016

Strength Training Over 50; Exercise Reduces Low-Back Pain

Here's another great benefit of starting and staying on a regular strength training program.  Medical professionals estimate that four out of five American adults experience occasional or chronic low-back discomfort.  Low-back pain is responsible for more employee absenteeism and medical expense than any other ailment except cold and flu.  However, you can reduce your risk of developing lower back pain with low-back strengthening exercises.

Exercise is so effective because there is a strong, positive relationship between weak low-back muscles, and low-back discomfort.  Several years of low-back pain studies conducted at the University of Florida demonstrated that systematic strengthening of the lower back muscles significantly reduced or eliminated discomfort in up to 80 percent of their patients.

The University of Florida strength training program for the lower back was simple.  All the participates performed one set of low-back extensions on a machine using a resistance that permitted between 8 to 15 repetitions.  And, on average each participant trained 3 days per week for a 10 week period.  Furthermore, other studies have shown that developing a strong mid-section ( abdominal, internal, and external obliques) also compliment stronger lower back muscles and further reduce the risk of low-back discomfort.

Although low-back pain is a complex medical issue, an appropriate program of lower back, and abdominal strengthening exercises appears to provide better musculoskeletal  function, support for vertebral column components, and shock absorption which reduces stress and excessive wear and tear on the overall low-back structure.  Consequently, all of this reduces the risk of low-back injury, and structural degeneration that leads to lower back pain and discomfort.

The above information is from Fitness Professional's Guide to Strength Training  Older Adults by Thomas R. Baechle, and Dr. Wayne L. Westcott.