What is that exactly? What does it look like and how is one supposed to behave ? Actually, I’m sure to the disconcertion of a few, I didn’t read the book on what you are supposed to do, look like, be like, dress etc but tossed it out the window to freely do my own thing 😉
I have no intention of playing by someone else’s rules about life.
You see even though I’m not sure what it’s supposed to look like, I’m totally digging where I am, who I am, and what I’ve learned to this point in my life.
To have knowledge, confidence in who I am, life lessons learned, and a healthy sense of humor intact are things I embrace having. It’s empowering to know yourself and be comfy in your own skin.
Turning into an athlete in my middle aged years and getting strong and chiseled when I could be going to marshmallow fluff is a huge bonus.
Seriously though, as a woman who is (technically) older I do read with some interest articles on health, strength and overall wellness as people age. I really don’t think about age nor do I let it define a single thing I think about taking on. But there is some belief, perhaps misguided, that age is the culprit for loss of strength and physical decline. I don’t want to go there… I want to stay strong.
I mean, is it age that ’causes us to get weak and unable to do things? Or is it the simple truth that we don’t use what we have and lose it ? Do we get frail because of age? or is it that we’ve not intentionally kept working our bodies so they are conditioned for these activities as we get older ?
We become sedentary which leads to feeling tired which leads to not wanting to do things and that in turn slowly erodes our physical strength.
I talk a lot about the importance of having muscle on your body. It’s a good thing. Metabolically it burns 6 calories an hour while resting while the same pound of fat burns a measly 2 calories at rest.
The main reason we lose muscle ? Lack of physical activity….
From the time you are born until you are about in your 30’s your muscles continue to get larger and stronger. However, at some point in your 30’s you begin to lose muscle mass and function. People who are inactive can lose 3-5% of their muscle mass past the age of 30.
The technical term for it is sarcopenia. Sarcopenia is the age-related loss of muscle mass, strength, and functionality. Like osteoporosis, sarcopenia is a multifactorial disease process that may result from sub-optimal hormone levels, inadequate dietary protein, other nutritional imbalances, lack of exercise, oxidative stress, and inflammation.
Sarcopenia and osteoporosis are related conditions, and one often accompanies or follows the other. Muscles generate the mechanical stress required to keep our bones healthy. When this muscle activity is reduced, it increases our susceptibility to a loss of bone mass, often initiating a vicious circle of declining health and functionality.
Loss of muscle means loss of strength and mobility. This can lead to falls and the physical weakness many associate as “age” related…. loss of muscle leads to a weakening of the body.
Is there a treatment? Yes! it’s called exercise specifically resistance or strength training… exercise that increases strength with resistance bands or weights. Research has shown a progressive resistance training in older adults can have results in as little as two weeks.
Nutrition also plays a vital and important role in maintaining our muscles.
Eat high quality protein each day, aim for about 30 grams per meal. What does “30 grams” mean in real-life terms? It’s equal to a three-egg omelet with ½ cup hard cheese or 1 cup of Greek yogurt with an ounce of almonds mixed in or a cooked 4-ounce hamburger or 5-ounce salmon fillet. Eat adequate protein, but remember eating excess only leaves your body or stores as fat, it does not build more muscle 😉
Get your heart pumping too… don’t forget it’s also a muscle that needs work. Aim for at least 30 minutes a day a minimum of 3 days a week. Brisk walking, cycling, rowing or running all are good heart pumping exercises.
No matter where you are in life you can start making changes and have improvement gaining more strength, energy and flexibility for your daily tasks. As with anything new, before you jump into a strength training regime, consult your doctor for the best plan for where you are and get ready to get stronger =)
What’s your favorite strength training activity ?