If you want good health, a long life and to feel your best well into old age, the number one most important thing you can do is strength-training, says Dr. Brett Osborn, author of “Get Serious, A Neurosurgeon’s Guide to Optimal Health and Fitness.”

 

Why?

 

“Our ability to fight off disease resides in our muscles. The greatest thing you can do for your body is to build muscle,” Osborn said citing a large, long-term study of nearly 9,000 men ages 20 to 80. After nearly 19 years, the men still living were those with the most muscular strength. (BMJ, formerly British Medical Journal, 2008).

 

Strength-training has health benefits for everyone, he adds, no matter their size.

 

“There are no secrets to a strong and healthier body; hard work is required for the body that will remain vital and strong at any age,” Osborn says. “Always practice proper form and safety. Otherwise, the result will be the opposite of your goal, an injury.”

 

Here’s another exercise he recommends:

 

The overhead press — primarily activates the shoulders, arm extenders and chest. Lower body musculature is also activated as it counters the downward force of the dumbbell supported by the trainee. From the planted feet into the hands, force is transmitted through the skeletal system, stabilized by numerous muscular structures, most importantly the lower back.