The strength of Strength

Print Friendly

The largest metabolically (use of energy) active tissue in our bodies is muscle.

The metabolic rate is the rate at which the body burns up calories. Someone that consumes 2500 calories a day, and burns 2500 calories a day  will stay at the same weight. Someone consuming 2500 calories daily but burning only 2000 will gain weight at the rate of about 1lb a week. For every extra pound of muscle you put on, your body uses extra calories. The research is conflicting but between 20 – 50 extra calories a day, and some evidence exists that supports a boost in basal (resting) metabolic rate by up to 15%. For a 80kg person that’s equivalent to 4’380 extra calories a year burned if you toned up by adding 1 pound of muscle and maintained your calorie intake, just over a pound of fat; a great return for minimal training.

Apart from enhancing weight loss, strength training also;

 (you guessed it!) makes you stronger so you can function better (functional capacity) in daily activity such as climbing stairs, lifting heavy stuff and moving your body around.

 Protects joints, which are the main things that suffer from wear and tear and injury in the musculo-skeletal system – but which can either be avoided, mitigated or the pain relieved through ensuring the muscles supporting a joint (and the joint’s fluid lubricating system) are strong and resilient.

 Helps prevent posture related pain. Over time and without strength our body’s slump forward as gravity wins or our day to day slouching (desk work etc) predominates. Ever wondered why our arms don’t face backwards?

 Allows us to stay very physically active well into older age should we choose to. Exercise, even competitive sport, can all be continued throughout life provided we are strong enough. And in being active we are emotionally and psychologically robust and healthy too.

So, what to do to be strong…without spending money on gym memberships or devoting too much time to improving?

There are thousands of exercise one can do and Silverhairs will over several articles suggest some of them and explain how and why they are worth considering. However to get you started we have chosen what’s called a ‘whole body movement’ …it looks easy…

It requires all of your joints to have good movement range, stability strength and uses virtually every major muscle in your body. So before you begin ensure you are injury free and if in any doubt ask your GP for the OK to exercise. Remember Silverhairs is not responsible for any injury should you choose to try any of the exercises we mention.

The Overhead Squat

Different people will be able to do this movement (exercise) to varying degrees of movement (range of movement) depending on joint wear and tear, strength and mobility. So it is possible to move just a few inches to begin with all the way to a full movement. They key is to maintain the correct Form (technique) at ALL times and only move as far as possible without undue discomfort; but remember some effort should be required!

The basic movement is: (one that only moves into a half squat position, hips above knees)


The advanced full movement is: (one where there is a full range, hips below knees)

The teaching points below apply to both examples:


Important points are to:

 Keep the body aligned correctly, with knees over the big and second toe. The knees can come forward of the foot but not ‘fall’ inwards.


 Ensure the arms do not fall forward

 Maintain a small arch in the lower back throughout

 Keep the weight slightly towards the rear of the foot avoiding moving forward onto the toes and off the heels

 Breath out when moving upwards

 Use a controlled moderate to slow movement (never mover rapidly)

No matter whether you do this exercise at home with little or no weight (load) or use a heavy bar, dumbbells or weights (instead of the towel or stick) to add load this is an efficient whole body exercise that will improve overall strength, mobility and joint stability.

Repetitions of 10-12 is a good way to gain a broad spectrum of strength and endurance; using higher loads and repetitions of around 7 will give maximum strength gains but should never be done unless a reasonable history of 3-4 months of consistent exercise exists. Between 2-5 sets (depending on the time you have) with 2-3 minutes rest between sets; completed every other day, is the ideal way for the Overhead Squat to kick start your strength work or as an adjunct to other exercise you are already doing.

Photo acknowledgments:


2. Adapted from www.



All content on is provided for general information only, and should not be treated at all as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Silversurfers will not be responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content on and we are also not liable for the content of any external websites or links from or to Silversurfers to any other websites. Please always consult your own doctor if you’re in any way concerned about any aspect of your health.


The following two tabs change content below.

Pat Fox

Pat Fox is an exercise physiologist and exercise specialist. After graduating from Otago University in sport and exercise science he completed his MSc in exercise physiology at Brunel University. Pat has worked with a wide range of groups from young developing sportspeople, older age groups and those with specific needs such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, musculo-skeletal injury, high blood pressure, arthritis, obesity and those new to exercise.

Latest posts by Pat Fox (see all)

Not a member?

Join the silversurfers community today! It's free, easy to do, and is packed full of features and amazing offers!

Join the community!
Click here if you have forgotten your password

Community Terms & Conditions

Content standards

These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.

You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.

Contributions must:

be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.

Contributions must not:

contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.

Nurturing a safe environment

Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.

We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!

More Foxy's Fitness

Fluid Facts – hydration for health hydration
With summer upon us and soaring temperatures and the motivation to get out and walk run and become...
Oh to sleep ..... SLEEPING
It is estimated that one in 4 of us has problems sleeping (getting to sleep or staying asleep) at...
The Heart of the Matter bigstock-Photos-of-a-woman-exercising
The cardiovascular system is made up of the heart, the lungs and the blood supply (including the...
Exercise is Medicine Exercise
Research findings recommend we do 30 minutes of moderate physical activity (such as brisk walking)...
"So you think you can read?" ...... Really reading food labels REALLY READING FOOD LABELS
We have food label ‘traffic lights’, RDA’s, RNI’s, guideline daily amounts (GDA’s)...
Why Calorie Counting Counts, but why Exercise matters! Healthy-Lifestyle_A-293x180
So, you want to lose weight…Why Calorie Counting Counts, but why Exercise matters! Recently...
The high price of inactivity... COUCH POTATO
According to statistics, someone in the UK dies directly from physical inactivity every 15...
The state of the nation bigstock-World-People-70846
In this section Pat Fox, the Silverhairs fitness guru,  will inform you of the latest in health...
Meet Foxy ... our Silverhairs fitness guru MEET FOXY!
Introducing Pat Fox..... Pat is an exercise physiologist and exercise specialist. After...