Maintaining Muscle Mass As You Get Older
Did you know that our bodies reach peak muscle mass in our 20s and start losing muscle in their 40s – at a rate of 8% per decade? The rate of muscle loss doubles to 15% each decade after the age of 70. Hence, maintaining muscle mass should be a top priority once you reach your 30s and 40s. Less muscle leads to reduced strength levels, issues with mobility, and a higher risk of injury. It can also cause a decrease in quality of life.
Consistent exercise helps minimize muscle loss.
However, all is not lost. With a consistent exercise program (Yoga/Barre/Pilates), muscle loss doesn’t have to be substantial. The trick is to be exercising consistently so that there are no gaps in time where your muscles aren’t being challenged. For those who are new to Yoga/ Barre/Pilates, it is best to slowly ease yourself into the routine. Let’s say you are new to Barre, try lifting the lighter weights and ensuring your form is good before progressing to increase your weights to avoid injuries or strain!
It is important to work on lower body such as the strengthening of the glutes and hamstrings to build overall leg strength. It is also essential to target the deep core muscles that support your lower back to keep your upright.
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Building muscle strength also builds stronger bones.
Any exercise that requires you to move your body, a weight or resistance against gravity. It works to build stronger bones by stimulating cells responsible for the synthesis and mineralization of bone. This is actually one of the most effective remedies against osteoporosis. As more tension is placed on the muscles, the pressure on the bones increases. They then respond by continuously creating fresh, new bone. In other words, when you are working against a resistance such as your body weight, stronger bones are being built. Meaning that any weighted exercise is sufficient, whether you choose Yoga, Barre or Pilates.
Of course, with any of these exercises, you’ll want to check in with your doctor first. Then work closely with a personal trainer, if possible, to ensure proper form and/or to take advantage of modifications for your body.
Not just for building muscle, but also for improving overall health.
Research shows that completing consistent workouts as you age can help maintain or even add muscle mass. This is particularly true when supplemented by a healthy, protein-rich diet. Muscle fights fat and with more muscle, metabolism is faster which helps with the fat burning. This is even more important as you age for a very crucial reason.
A loss of muscle mass decreases metabolism by 3 – 8% each decade. Building more muscle mass will help you keep a healthy metabolism through your life and keep that weight from creeping up. Yoga is great for bone loss, it is also a gentle workout that protects your joints from wear and tear, gives you better movement control to reduce injury, and helps you maintain digestion and fluid regulation to minimize fatigue, swelling, or dehydration. Depending on how active you are as you get older, it is important to maintaining good stability, balance, gait, and heart health.
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