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The Importance of Muscle Strengthening Exercises for Seniors

Muscle building has never been so important as it is in your older years. You might think of younger people getting fit in their 20s and 30s, but older adults must start prioritizing muscle-strengthening exercises if they aren’t already. 

It’s been shown that after the age of 30, we begin losing nearly 3 to 8% of lean muscle mass. That’s a huge problem when you discover all the reasons we need good, strong muscle tissue. Building and maintaining muscle will potentially save you on medical bills by preventing all types of issues that arise with old age. 

What are the benefits of having more muscle mass?

You might want to pick up some weights after reading this. Here are some of the most compelling reasons to weight train regularly, but especially implementing it into your routine as you grow older.

Strength exercises improve balance – 

Your core abdominal muscles help maintain your posture. When you grow older, your bones are challenged to keep the frame of your body in constant alignment and not distorted as you move and perform your regular daily activities. 

Having a strong abdominal structure through regular muscle building improves your posture and holds your balance together. This greatly reduces your risk of falling and fracturing or breaking any bones. 

The unfortunate reality is that as we get older there is an increased likelihood of falling and developing serious injuries with decreased muscle mass. By implementing even the smallest amount of strength training into your daily routine you are helping your body increase bone density and improve your overall strength while reducing the likelihood of fractures.

Elderly slip and fall accidents are a huge problem as we grow older, especially for anyone who lives in snowy or icy environments. Older adults are more susceptible to brittle bones and osteoporosis. 

Preventing Osteoporosis – 

Along with the increased risk of falling, is the compounded problem of weaker bones. Osteoporosis occurs when our dietary and lifestyle habits create a lack of nutrients, thereby making our bones weak and porous. These types of bones are easy to break, crack, and fracture.

By increasing your muscle-strengthening activities you’re protecting your bones, your back, your posture, and your ability to move with confidence as you grow older. 

Similarly, strength training helps keep the cartilage between your joints from breaking down, which means no joint stiffness or pain. The more active and mobile you are the less likely you are to fall victim to the symptoms of arthritis, lower back pain, and other joint pains.

Decelerates common problems with aging –

Having more strong lean muscle tissue improves your mobility and daily function. As we grow older, our bodies face the normal challenges that come with aging.  However, with strong muscle tissue, you’re more likely to remain strong, youthful, and energetic, and have a lower weight

All of this results in decreased likelihood of premorbid medical conditions or hormonal imbalances.

Buffers any pain associated with arthritis –

Arthritis. Sadly, another common problem experienced in older age. However, regular weight-bearing exercises are shown to keep your body’s framework healthy and resilient. Having strong muscles to protect your bones is not only important to prevent fall injuries, but also to help relieve the pain associated with arthritis. How exactly does this happen? Strength training prevents the cartilage between your joints from deteriorating. This means you experience less stiffness and pain in your joints. Plus, the more active your lifestyle is with plenty of movement throughout your day, the less likely you are to experience symptoms of arthritis in your joints and pain in your back. 

Where to Begin

How should older adults prioritize muscle-strengthening exercises? A good place to start is by always discussing your plans with your physician. Their guidance will help you tailor your goals and have regular progress checks to track your improvement. To measure your starting point, you’ll need to consider your weight heaviness and how much weight you can use, along with the number of reps and rest periods in between. It should be a challenging yet doable routine. 

A typical weight-bearing exercise routine includes:

  • 8 to 10 targeted exercises for major muscle groups
  • 12 to 15 reps
  • 2 to 3 times a week

Getting the right support and oversight is best when embarking on improving your health. Don’t be afraid to start small and continue to gradually build up to heavier weights, more repetitions, or different types of exercises. It’s a slow process that takes time and patience but comes with great rewards.

South Coast Post Acute is Southern California’s Premier post-acute Partner

Better health and healing are possible with the right professional oversight and daily nutrition. At South Coast Post Acute, we deliver the services needed to restore health, regain autonomy and reduce the occurrences of rehospitalization. 

South Coast Post Acute is here for you, at any age. Our innovative care, experienced staff, and welcoming accommodations combine to bring you the high level of care you’ve come to expect from Southern California’s leading post-acute provider. 
Contact us today for more information on how we can help you on your journey back to restored health.

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