Experts say we lose muscle mass starting at the age of 30 at the rate of about 10% per decade until we reach the age of 50, at which point the rate accelerates to 15% per decade, according to research conducted in Germany.
By the time we reach the age of 80, the loss of muscle mass can be severe and debilitating.
“When we talk about bone health and falls, we talk about three factors: fall, fragility, and force,” says Matt Sedgley, a sports medicine physician with MedStar Orthopaedic Institute. “Participating in weight-bearing and resistance-training exercises helps develop muscle mass. So, if you fall you have stronger bone density and cushioning.”
Dr. Gabe Mirkin, a renowned expert in sport medicine, tells Newsmax that strength training, or resistance training, is the best way to slow down the loss of muscle strength associated with aging.
“I believe everyone should do some type of resistance exercise as part of their regular exercise program,” he says. “I have always recommended gong to a gym and using their Nautilus-type of weight training equipment, but now, because of COVID-19, we need to find ways to do our resistance training at home.”
Mirkin purchased a home gym during the pandemic but says that simple exercises such as pushups, sit-ups, holding a plank position, or doing squats can help stimulate muscles to grow stronger.
“You can even make your own weights by filling cloth shopping bags with cans or filling gallon water jugs with varying amounts of water,” he said, adding that you can follow online workouts by searching YouTube and using phrases like, “resistance exercises at home.”
Mirkin says that losing muscle strength increases our risk for diabetes, heart attacks, and some cancers. A little-known fact is that the smaller the muscles in your arms, legs, and trunk, the small and weaker the upper and lower chambers of your heart.
Always check with your healthcare practitioner before beginning any exercise program, says Mirkin, and check his helpful tips on weight lifting tips for middle-age and seniors.
“Beginners should start with a resistance or weight that they can comfortably lift and lower at least 10 times,” he said. “As soon as your exercising muscle starts to fatigue, burn, or feel tight, stop that exercise and move on to the next.”
He said that older people can reduce their risk of injuries by sticking to lighter weights and increasing the number of repetitions.
“You have lots of choices for resistance exercises that can be done in your home with little or no special equipment,” he said. “If you prefer to buy a substantial gym, shop around to get exactly what you want for the best price.”
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