Muscle power and performance tend to decline slowly after age 65 and accelerate as we continue to age. Losing bone and muscle mass makes moving and picking up objects more complicated. It is often characterized by loss of strength and function. Symptoms could include weakness, fatigue, energy loss, balance problems, and trouble walking and standing.
One way to avoid or slow down this process is to maintain a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise and strength training to help maintain and build muscle strength.
Strength or resistance training requires our muscles to contract to lift a heavy object against the pull of gravity. You can do this by weightlifting with machines, free weights, medicine balls, or resistance bands. You can also do body weight-bearing exercises such as pushups, squats, or yoga.
Research shows that strength training in those 60 years or older leads to significant benefits such as stronger bones, improved balance, lower risk of falling, enhanced memory, focus and mood, reduced blood pressure, and increased protection against the development of many chronic diseases such as arthritis, osteoporosis, heart disease, and diabetes.
So what is the bottom line? Don’t stop moving. Set realistic goals for yourself and go after them. While we always recommend speaking with your doctor before starting a new exercise program to get the best advice given your current level of health, a common rule of thumb is that most men should aim to do about 150 minutes per week of moderate-level exercise. When starting an exercise program or currently having an active lifestyle, it is important to always speak to your provider before beginning any exercise program.
At Elderplan, we value the health and wellness of our members. So, in addition to going to the gym or exercising outside, you can also visit the Member-to-Member section on the Elderplan website to view pre-recorded exercise class videos that you can follow along with other members.
If you are not a Member, please explore our health plan options to see if there is a plan that may suit your needs.