Losing strength as you age-Normal or Not?
As a person who wants to help people stay independent as they age- this is a question that I am asked. And there is a 2 part answer.
Part 1- There is a process that occurs for all people as we age. After the age of about 30 we begin to lose muscle mass and this process speeds up between 60-75 years of age. And, as we age we lose particular type of muscle that helps us make big movement. Loss of this muscle mass over time makes it difficult to perform activities like squatting down to pick up your dog, climbing the stairs, getting up into an SUV and getting up and down off the floor to play with grandkids. The ability to generate the power needed to do these tasks diminishes. It gets harder to generate the OOMPH needed. It may also increase the likelihood of falls and fracture. All this sounds pretty dire- but there is Part 2!
Part 2: The Good News: It is possible to combat this loss of muscle mass! One thing that you can do is perform strengthening exercises. Exercises where you work against a resistance that is challenging enough to cause your muscles to change and increase. And, studies show it doesn’t matter how long you have been losing this strength. Or, if it has been a long time since you have done exercise. You can see results with the right level of challenge. It is important to consider what exercise you should be doing. There are a variety of exercises you can do, but some exercises may need to be modified based on your health history. So being aware of what is going on with your health prior to starting an exercise program is important. Just realize, having chronic health issues does not mean that you can’t perform strengthening exercise. You should just seek some guidance. Having guidance on how to modify exercises to accommodate any problems you may have due to arthritis, osteoporosis or heart or lung problems will help you be successful and reduced your risk of injury. At Dedicated Therapy, we all our programs are supervised by Physical Therapists. Prior to starting an exercise program with us, we talk with you about your health history, your problems and your goals. Then, we use our clinical reasoning and knowledge of the body and chronic conditions to recommend a program of exercise to meet your needs. If you want to talk with someone about starting an exercise program just click this link and arrange a phone call. Next time we will talk about some of the simple tests that can be done to assess your strength and balance.