I'm a personal trainer and member of the Baby Boomers and it's my mission to to help each one of you to stay healthy and fit as you age. Your body is designed for movement and the worst thing you can do for your health is to become inactive. "Use it or lose it" is especially true when it comes to maintaining your muscle mass, strength, and independence as you age.
Research has proven that strength training is the best thing you can do to preserve your muscle mass, increase your strength, and stay independent as you age. Strength training is important because as early as your 30s you can begin to experience age related muscle loss know as sarcopenia, and this process accelerates with time is left unabated. If you are inactive, you can lose up to 10 pounds of muscle each decade starting at age 40.
Loosing muscle is detrimental to your fitness because muscle is the component of your body that burns the majority of the calories you consume each day. Therefore, when you lose muscle your body requires less calories to function. Consequently, those extra calories you consume are stored as fat around your waist, hips, and other places.
Your body constantly burn calories, even when we’re doing nothing. This resting metabolic rate is much higher in people with more muscle. Every pound of muscle uses about six calories a day to sustain itself, while each pound of fat burns only two calories daily. This small difference can add up over time. In addition, after a bout of strength training, muscles are activated all over your body, increasing your average daily metabolic rate.
Fortunately, strength training can mitigate, and even reverse the loss of muscle at any age. Studies have shown that people in 90s gain muscle, and increase their strength level when they start weight lifting on a regular basis.
Increasing your metabolism isn’t the only benefit of strength training. It also helps:
Develop strong bones. By stressing your bones, strength training increases bone density and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
Control your weight. As you gain muscle, your body burns more calories more efficiently which can result in weight loss. The more toned your muscles, the easier it is to control your weight.
Reduce your risk of injury. Building muscle protects your joints from injury. It also helps maintain flexibility and balance which are crucial to remaining independent as you age.
Boost your stamina. Building muscle helps to increase your energy level.
Improve your sense of well-being. Strength training can boost your self-confidence, improve your body image, and reduce the risk of depression.
Sleep better. People who strength train on a regular basis are less likely to have insomnia.
Manage chronic conditions. Strength training can reduce the signs and symptoms of many chronic conditions, including arthritis, back pain, depression, diabetes, obesity, and osteoporosis.