How to Slow Down Age Related Muscle Loss
Research has found that progressive strength training can counteract age related muscular atrophy.
Sarcopenia or age related muscular atrophy (loss) can start as early as age 20. The rate of sarcopenia accelerates as we age; and from 50 to 70 years of age, we lose 30 percent of our muscle strength. Maintaining muscle strength as we age is extremely important to be able to maintain mobility as well as manage to live an independent life and carry out daily tasks independently. As we lose muscle, we lose the ability to perform tasks where strength is required; pulling, pushing, lifting etc. Our skeleton comes under more stress as it has to take more of the load, which in turn can affect our posture; our balance, agility and co-ordination all reduce, as we have less strength to control movement; and our metabolic rate will slow down (and body fat increase).
The studies looked at the extent of the effects which can be gained as a result of strength training in older people and which intensities of exercise are beneficial as well as possible in individuals over the age of 60 years. The researchers discovered that regular strength training improved muscle strength, lessened muscular atrophy, and showed that bones and tendons adapt too. These successes consequently had a preventative effect with regards to preventing injuries and falls.
Higher intensities of training produced better effects compared to low and moderate intensities. To be able to increase muscle mass, a 60 to 85 percent intensity of the one-repetition-maximum is necessary. To be able to increase quickly available muscle force, greater intensities (85 percent or more) are necessary. The ideal amount of exercise for healthy older people is 3 to 4 training sessions each week.
Look at some of the benefits:
Osteoporosis affects all of us as we age, females more rapidly than males; resistance training can help slow the effects down as it helps increase bone density, therefore reducing the chances of breaking a bone as a result of a fall.
Heart: the heart is a muscle and, like all the other muscles in the body can respond to exercise by becoming stronger and more efficient. The result? The heart can continue to pump blood around more efficiently under less strain. Exercise can also help regulate the lipids in the blood which can help reduce the risks of heart disease.
Mood: by exercising the body responds by producing ‘happy’ hormones that can improve mood and energy levels. This can lead to a more active and independent lifestyle.
Metabolism: by increasing or maintaining muscle mass the body will burn more calories, therefore our ability to control our weight and body fat is better. This will also help get rid of those wobbly bits under the arms!!!
Arthritis: stronger more functional muscles will support the skeleton much better and therefore reduce the stress on the joints; the muscles do the work absorbing the forces involved.
Back pain: how many of us would love to be pain free? Strong healthy muscles will do the work, improving posture and getting you standing up straighter.
So no matter how old you are, there are lots of reasons to strength train as it has so many benefits for improving your health. Many of of clients are over 30 and love the differences they have seen as a result of training with us on a regular basis; when are you starting?