Senior Health: Building muscle and strength into the Golden Years


(upbeat techno music) – I have always loved physical
fitness since I was young. And have always been active. And I’ve found that it’s
helped me in immeasurable ways. – [Announcer] 61-years young, Marcia McKay is in terrific shape. She makes exercise a part
of her everyday life. But a majority of Americans, particularly those over 60, leave physical fitness behind when they hit their Golden Years. – [Mark] Physical activity is
important for any population, regardless of age. It translates to prevention
of cardiovascular disease, prevention of diabetes. A host of comorbidities that are associated with obesity. People can expect to lose upwards
of 50% of muscle strength, and even up to 80% of muscle power, if they are sedentary
throughout their late adulthood. – [Announcer] It’s commonly thought that adults over a certain age cannot build muscle mass and strength. But a University of
Michigan Health System Study challenges that belief. The results of the study show that not only can older
adults experience improvement, but they can expect
even greater improvement if they engage in progressive
resistance training. Which means that they
are increasing the load and increasing the amount of training that they’re doing over time to accommodate their fitness improvements. Study results suggest that with an average of about 20-and-a-half weeks of training, an individual can increase 1.1 kilograms of lean muscle tissue
over their whole body, or about 2.42 pounds. – I really didn’t start learning
about resistance training and actually doing it, til I was in my late 40s; late 40s. But what I’ve found is
that it strengthened the muscles around the
joints to keep them stable. I have very small bones and
I’m at risk for Osteoporosis. And my bones are strong. So it’s not just the muscle, it’s the joints, the bones and the muscles. So it’s increasingly important
to resistance train. (laughs) – Resistance exercise is a
great way to not only preserve, but to increase lean muscle
tissue and strength capacity, so that people can decrease
risk of slip and fall accidents. They can function more
readily in daily life. Able to stand up out of a chair easier. Walk across the floor, climb a flight of stairs. Anything that requires
manipulating their own body mass. – I would say my goal is to stay healthy. And the resistance keeps me that way. – [Mark] I think anybody
over the age of 50, should strongly consider participating in resistance exercise. A good way for people to start on a resistance training program, is to consider using
their body mass as a load and simply using basic
exercises like squats: Standing up out of a chair. Doing things that use your own body mass through a full range of motion. And then as somebody
becomes more comfortable and they’re interested in pursuing some more advanced level training, it is possible to do that at a gym, with some guidance and expertise
of a fitness consultant. The most influential parameter
to somebody’s function is their strength capacity. And no matter what age an individual is, they can experience significant
strength improvement with resistance exercise. Even into the eighth and
ninth decades of life. – I’ve always been involved in fitness, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve focused more on weight-training. I feel stronger. I wanna stay healthy, have strong bones and avoid injury. That’s my goal. And try to fight the aging
thing as much as possible. (light uplifting music)

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