Staying strong as we get older
Strength training is often neglected as we get older, with people traditionally showing a preference for what could be perceived as more easily accessible forms of exercise – those involving the cardiovascular system (jogging, brisk walking or swimming) rather than those that increase strength. Whilst we know the benefits of cardiovascular exercise are extensive, it is increasingly clear that we must include strength training into our weekly routines. After 30 we will lose muscle mass at a rate of 3% – 5% each decade which is accelerated when we reach the age of 60. This loss of muscle mass changes a whole host of bodily functions leading to reduced energy production, reduced hormone secretions, reduced metabolism and reduced protection against key diseases such as dementia, Parkinson’s and Type 2 diabetes.
Preventing loss of muscle mass
An evidence review commissioned by Public Health England and the Centre for Ageing Better has found that muscle and bone strengthening continues to have great health benefits for all adults, including older adults aged 65 years and over. This is particularly true in preventing trips and falls as we get older. Muscle mass from strength training prevents the likelihood of falling but also the likelihood of bone fractures if a fall does happen to occur.