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Strength Training when you are over 45 – Medical Benefits part 1 – Sarcopenia *

Strenght Training medical benefits Sarcopenia

Are you 45-ish and either anxious about not getting enough exercise, or frantically worried about doing the right type of exercise, to help you age with grace.

It has been confirmed that strength training can assist in reducing the risk of Sarcopenia, type-2 diabetes, osteoporosis, iron-deficiency anaemia, and arthritis.  This ticks the box for both scenarios above. The 45 and above age group needs strength training, and I would like to share with you the health benefits associated with doing so. We will look at each condition.

Over the next 4 posts we will be discussing the major medical benefits of once-a-week strength training and how that can aid setting you up for getting older “only in number” and not in body.

Firstly we will look at is Sarcopenia:

  1. Sarcopenia

Sarcopenia is the medical term used to describe age-related muscle loss, a very common occurrence.  This starts from about the age of 30, and on average we lose about 10% of our lean muscles every 10 years.  From the age of 60 this increases to 15% every 10 years, then to 30% every 10 years thereafter. The actual amount of muscles we lose will differ depending on our activity level and health.

This muscle loss leads to a reduction of our metabolic rate, which means those kilojoules we were previously able to burn up using normal muscle activity are instead getting stored as body fat, and this leads to weight gain.

My mother-in-law falls in this age group and experienced this. Her words: “My goodness Melissa, it all makes sense now, it was never the washing powder shrinking the clothes!” She was fascinated to hear that this loss of muscle robs us of our functional health, independence and mobility, and further forces us into unhealthy and inactive lifestyles.  This problem eventually pushes us into other lifestyle diseases such as high-blood pressure, diabetes and heart diseases.

This is a scary thought, for any-one, but it does not have to be this way.  Sarcopenia is reversible, and can be managed and minimised by exercise and strength training.  Strength training is a proven way to increase muscle size and strength.  So by increasing lean muscles you will speed up your metabolic rate, increase your mobility and independence.  This will lead to a longer, more independent and better quality life. My mum-in law took this good news to heart and is now in the 101 Fitness exercise room on a weekly basis doing her strength training.

(Between you and me, she actually gets a bit cranky if there is a remote possibility that she may miss a session.)

Look out for the next article on Type 2 Diabetes.

*Individual results may vary from person to person

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