Staying Strong Is Important As You Age
Feb 28, 2018
One of the most important things you can do for your overall health is to stay strong. Unfortunately, aging doesn’t make this easy—but it’s a battle you can win.
As you age, little by little, fat replaces muscle and bone tissues. Loss of muscle causes many problems and makes everyday living harder. But it’s important to know that the right exercises will reverse some of the age-related changes that cause you to lose muscle strength.
Strength training exercises actually improve the muscles of older adults to work more like those of younger adults. And Tapestry is here to help you with this! We’re going to point you to some good beginning strength exercises. Also, Tapestry provides free weights (dumbbells) in our fitness center for your use.
Aging is the Enemy of Your Muscles
The fact is that after age 30, you begin to lose as much as 3% to 5% of your muscle mass per decade.
Less muscle means greater weakness and less mobility, both of which may increase your risk of falls and fractures. A 2015 report from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research found that people with significant muscle loss had over twice the risk of having fractures from a fall—such as broken hips, collarbones, legs, arms, or wrists.
Having Good Muscle Strength Makes Everything Easier
The good news: experts believe that as few as two 30-minute exercise sessions per week can help you increase muscle mass and bone density.
Strength training offers many important benefits.
First, the obvious benefit is that it allows you to maintain your strength, making everyday life easier. All your daily activities require muscular strength: getting out of bed, walking, climbing the stairs, opening a jar, and carrying a bag of groceries. These are all accomplished only if you have the muscular strength necessary to complete the task.
Besides maintaining strength, the right strengthening exercises provide the following additional benefits:
- Decreases depression
- Improves sleep
- Decreases body fat
- Reduces the risk of osteoporosis
- Helps maintain independence and physical function as you age
- Increases energy
- Improves mobility
- Boosts your immune system
- Decreases risk of injury
- Improves self-confidence
- Raises metabolism which aids in maintaining a healthy weight
Strong Women (and Men) Stay Young
"Our research shows that a program of strength training not only improves bone density but reduces falls, improves arthritis symptoms, and increases flexibility and strength." –Miriam Nelson
One of the best books we’ve come across about the importance of keeping muscle mass is Strong Women Stay Young by Dr. Miriam Nelson. Although the book is written for women, it includes strength-building exercises that are just as beneficial for men.
Dr. Nelson offers the following advice:
“If you are walking an hour every day, six days a week, substitute a portion of your walking time with strength training to receive the maximum benefit from exercise. For example, on three of the six days, decrease your walking time to a half-hour and reserve the second half-hour for strengthening exercises. On the other three days, continue to walk for the full hour. It is important to take a day off in between strength-training sessions. Walking every day, whether strength training or not, is fine.”
If you want a detailed exercise plan for strengthening muscles and want to read more about how important this is to aging well, pick up a copy of this book at your favorite bookstore. We think you’ll be glad you did!
The easiest way to learn exercises is to see them being demonstrated. With this in mind, we’re going to direct you to a video on YouTube demonstrating some excellent strengthening exercises. You can find a lot of helpful exercise videos on YouTube, but we found this one to have everything you need to start building your muscle mass.
You can do these in your OKC senior apartment at Grand Tapestry or in our fitness center where hand weights are always available.
Maintain and Strengthen Those Muscles!
Basically, maintaining your muscle strength needs to be a part of your exercise regimen if you want to live a long, healthy life.
Dr. Thomas Storer, from Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital, says that older people “can indeed increase muscle mass lost as a consequence of aging. It takes work, dedication, and a plan, but it is never too late to rebuild muscle and maintain it.”
Never too late…that’s great news! Let Grand Tapestry's senior living experts help you start rebuilding and maintaining those important muscles! Contact us today!