Phil Carville: A better you |

Phil Carville: A better you

By Phil Carville | Special to The Union

If this long COVID-year has got you down, feeling tired and out of shape, perhaps you should create an exercise plan for 2021. It is the best Easter gift you could give yourself — here are a few benefits.


We begin to lose muscle mass (sarcopenia) after the age of 30. Studies show that you lose 3% to 5% of their muscle mass each decade. By age 70, you may have lost 20% of your muscle mass. Weight training, even light training, can produce powerful results.


Muscle cells burn more calories than fat cells do. When you build muscle, you continue to burn more calories after your workout is over. You will burn roughly 100 to 150 more calories over the next 24 hours than a person who did not lift weights. You will find yourself both stronger and leaner.


One of the most deleterious results of aging is bone loss. When you are young your body rebuilds bone tissue as it is reabsorbed by your body. As you age, your body cannot keep up and there is a gradual decline in bone density each year.

Weight training counteracts bone loss by stimulating osteocyte cells to rebuild bone. Studies of post-menopausal women found that regular weight training increased bone density in key locations (spine, hips and heels) as well as the entire body. Lift weights and you well have stronger bones.


Here is an amazing statistic. You don’t have to spend a lot of time lifting weights. An Iowa State University of 13,000 adults showed that persons who both lifted weights and did some cardiovascular exercise (treadmills, steppers, rowing or swimming) for as little as 15 minutes each day lower their risk of heart attack, stroke and death by 40% to 70%.

Interestingly, working out more than one hour per week did not produce additional benefits regarding cardiovascular health.


More than 30 million Americans have diabetes. By 2030, diabetes will be the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. This is an insidious disease because it can creep up on you later in life.

Medical studies show that twice a week strength training reduces insulin swings. Also, people who lift weights were significantly less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes.


Inflammation is the cause of many health conditions such as hearth disease, auto-immune disorders, asthma, allergies and several others. However, Mayo Clinic studies show that persons who lift weight have lower levels of inflammation than those who did not lift weights.


According to the National Council on Aging, falls are the leading cause of death by injury and the leading cause of non-fatal hospital admissions for older adults.

Stronger muscles improve balance, but also help you recover from loss of balance. Your stronger body can react so that you regain balance and prevent the fall in the first place.


I could go on and on about the benefits of weight training. Studies have shown that exercise in almost any form improves moods and reduces bouts of depression and anxiety.

How about brain training? Studies by the Archives of Internal Medicine demonstrate that persons between 65 and 75 who lifted weights once or twice a week performed better on cognitive tests than those who focused only toning exercises.

Want to live actively in your old age? Dr. Mark Peterson, University of Michigan, states “One of the best predictors of elder health is weight training. When we add strength, almost every other health outcome improves.”


Whether your goal is to lose weight, stay fit, keep your mind sharp or prevent disease, pick up some weights. If older, make sure you consult with a competent personal trainer and develop the age-related exercise program tailored to your individual needs and medical issues.

Remember what Yogi Berri said about the importance of exercise: “I’m not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did”.

Phil Carville is a co-owner of the South Yuba Club. He is happy to answer your questions or respond to comments. You can reach him as

Phil Carville

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