In my 17 years in fitness, I have encountered people of all ages and abilities, and with that, different attitudes about aging.
I have often said to my clients that “the mind can tell the body how to feel but it is often the body that tries to trick the mind into feeling something less than itself.”
Aging is a natural process that tends to begin at 30, accelerate at 50, and can triple in speed by 70. As we age, sarcopenia (age-related muscle loss) can directly impact physical ability, posture, metabolism, body composition, balance and core strength, says the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).
Many individuals will face sarcopenia, but the rate at which they experience it is based on their physical exercise and fitness level.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and NASM, without exercise intervention, the average adult over age 50 will lose 6-8 pounds of muscle mass per decade while accruing an additional 2-3% body fat over a decade. However, those who strength train and perform compound exercises for all major muscle groups of the body will lose only about one-fourth of the same lean muscle mass with a negligible increase in body fat.
What does all this information mean? Having a structured strength training regimen, and making it the cornerstone of your exercise program, provides a myriad of benefits for both the mind and body.
With the appropriate training that focuses on building lean muscle mass, specifically targeting Type II fibers, an individual can counteract disease, improve quality of life, become more functional and enhance systemic metabolic function.
In performing major muscle groups such as the legs, hips, trunk and back, the body will be able to increase its functionality and enhance metabolism to be more efficient at burning calories, burning fat and building new lean tissue.
What’s more, the anti-inflammatory white blood cells that are released from muscle repair work to improve overall immune health, support joints, and help stave off some inflammatory-based diseases such as Alzheimer’s, stroke, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Can you change your fitness age? Yes, with a structured strength training program that focuses on all the major muscle groups of the body. I know I will continue to do the same so I can stay physically and mentally young for life.
As the late Jack LaLanne, a pioneer in the world of fitness, used to say, “Better to wear out than rust out.” Try to keep moving, doing something you love each day.
Need help with ways to build lean muscle mass? A fitness specialist can help you develop a strength training program that works for you.
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