Strength Training Prevents Age Related Muscle Loss
The condition known as sarcopenia derived from the Greek words for vanishing flesh is the gradual wasting away of lean muscle tissue of one's body. Twenty years ago this condition did not even have a name, but now is well on the way to becoming a household word like osteoporosis.
Responsible for robbing both women and men of their strength, health, mobility and independence in their senior years, sarcopenia is a significant global health problem and is one of the most serious long term threats to being able to remain healthy as adult's age.
Usually seen in physically inactive people, sarcopenia exerts its debilitating effects in a slow, sneaky fashion over a period of decades. This loss of muscle begins at around the age of 30 at the rate of 10% per decade increasing to 15 % per decade in the 60's and 70's then about 30% per decade thereafter.
This insidious and crippling process not only robs people of their functional health and mobility but further pushes them into unhealthy and inactive lifestyles. This vicious cycle continues with increased risk of other diseases associated with a sedentary lifestyle such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
Research in the anti aging field is finding ways to prevent and treat muscle loss in aging adults and concludes that strength training exercise has a remarkable effect on recovering lost strength.
The negative attitude towards strength training by older adults has changed over time as they are learning how they can benefit from this old but proven form of exercise.
Strength training is exercise that uses resistance - to strengthen and condition the muscular system. This can be achieved with resistance training machines or free weights found in your local gym. The amount of resistance a muscle has to work against determines how strong it will get.
Strength training is not running on a treadmill, riding a stationary bike, or using an elliptical machine. Although those types of aerobic machines use "resistance" to increase your workout intensity, it's not the same as strength training and will not strengthen muscles.
Any exercise that involves contracting your muscles many times with little or no resistance such as walking or cycling doesn't prevent loss of muscle mass. Runners still lose muscle mass even if they're highly active. When challenged by strength training exercise your muscles and bones are continually forced to renew themselves, sweeping out old, degenerated cells and rebuilding new tissue that is younger, stronger, and healthier.
To get started a properly prescribed exercise program should be set up and the initial sessions monitored by an Exercise Professional at your local gym or health club. This program should include both strength training and cardiovascular exercise at about a 60/40 ratio.
If you risk losing your functional health and mobility as you get older, you risk losing your precious independence - and your dignity along with it. The good news is, as a health-conscious adult you can take immediate steps to get started on a strength training program to ensure this will never happen to you.