Prevent muscle losses
I wouldn’t agree with experts who say the natural process of aging leads to muscle loss, but if you aren’t strength training there is an average loss of .5 lbs a year that begins at age 30. This means some of us are losing more than that and some less. The problem is, you don’t know which you are until it’s too late.
The only way to offset losses is strength training. Aerobic exercise does not do it.
Prevent bone losses
Bone losses begin at almost the same time as muscle losses. Bone loss of 1-3% annually of for women accelerates to 3-5% during menopause and then returns to the pre menopause level losses after. In later decades however, both bone and muscle losses can accelerate again, for those adults not strength training, that is.
The combination less muscle and weak bones put you both more at risk for falls and more at risk for fractures due to falls.
Prevent increased body fat
Even if you are the same weight at 50 that you were at 30, if you’ve lost 5 lbs (average) of muscle each decade since 30, your body fat is higher and lean muscle is lower.
If you weighed 140 and had 20% body fat at age 30 you had 112 lbs lean and 28 lbs fat.
If you still weigh, 140 at 50 your body fat is now 27% with 102 lbs lean and 38 lbs fat.
Muscle is metabolically active tissue: it burns calories. Fat does not.
So, while you would be weaker with less muscle you also would have a steadily slowing metabolism meaning you would have to eat less and less in order to even maintain that same weight. Increased body fat increases your risk of disease.
Reduce risk of injury
The stronger your muscles the more protected your joints and ligaments. Even as you age and you become less resilient, you will be at much lower risk of injury from the strength itself, but there’s more. If you’re training with a mixture of power, and strength, and functional movements you will be able to react and respond better to situations we will all encounter.
The slippery tub or shower floor, the unexpected ice patch or the quick actions of a young child will be less of a risk for you.
Reduce risk of depression and anxiety
Women, more than men are susceptible to depression in later years. Exercise of all kinds boosts mood through serotonin. Regular exercise is good mental health insurance. Depression is tied to dementia and Alzheimers. Exercise is also known to enhance brain health and memory as well as cognitive function in older adults.
Reduce risk of diabetes
Regulation of blood sugar levels is a benefit of regular exercise. An acute bout of exercise increases insulin sensitivity. Repeated regular exercise can play a big role in improving or preventing diabetes or blood sugar issues not yet diagnosed as diabetes.
Certainly, this list is not all-inclusive. There are over 80 diseases directly tied to exercise. That is a lack of exercise correlates with greater risk of disease. Adults who regularly exercise have reduced incidence of disease. As you age, muscle losses stand to have the greatest detriment on your health, leading to a cascade of other negative side affects.
The good news… with little time and little skill… muscle loss is preventable.
Need some support with your weight training start? Click here for the weight training and nutrition that supports your exercise in Flipping 50’s 28 Day Kickstart.
Click the image to use my checklist for exercise habits that give you the most results in the least amount of time.