Showing posts with label strength training for elderly. Show all posts
Showing posts with label strength training for elderly. Show all posts

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Get Stronger and Live a Longer, Healthier Life

Most of us, whether we are retired or not, realize the importance of cardio exercise in maintaining their health.  Examples of popular types of cardio exercise include walking, running, hiking, swimming, biking, dancing, pickleball, tennis or taking aerobic exercise classes like Zumba.  While all of these activities are very important if you hope to stay active as you age, researchers have discovered that it is just as important to make sure you build muscle and stay strong.

According to an AAARP article in the May, 2022 Bulletin, a 2021 review of sixteen studies determined that it only takes about 30 to 60 minutes of strength training or resistance exercise per week to increase the average life expectancy by 10 to 17 percent!  So, if you want to live a longer, healthier life, find a way to build muscles for 10 to 15 minutes, and do it three to five times a week.  

Examples of Strength and Resistance Training

Among the things the researchers discovered is that your strength training does not require that you do anything special. You may already be incorporating some of it in your daily life.  Here are some examples:

Lifting weights

Using resistance bands

Yoga or Pilates classes

Doing calisthenics, push-ups, sit-ups, squats, etc.

Carrying groceries, grandchildren or heavy items when gardening or performing similar chores around your home.

As you can see, working those muscles is easier than you think!

Protein Also Helps You Build Muscle

Read "The Whole Body Reset" 

However, simply working your muscles is not enough if you hope to build the muscle you need to extend your life.  The AARP book "The Whole Body Reset"   (ad) also recommends that women over 50 eat at least 25 grams of protein at every meal, and men should get 30 grams of protein per meal.  This is the amount necessary to "stimulate protein synthesis, the process for building and maintaining muscle."  This type of protein timing, combined with strength and resistance training, will enable your body to respond as if you are in your 20s.  That's pretty amazing!

But what if you don't want to eat a lot of meat, especially if you are watching your cholesterol?  Why not pour a protein drink over your morning oatmeal or cereal?  Eat a tuna salad or peanut butter sandwich at lunchtime.  Add some beans and other sources of protein to your dinner.  There are many delicious ways to increase your protein in your diet.

Other Benefits of Gaining Strength as You Age

Obviously, the idea that protein and strength training could extend your life is pretty appealing.  However, there are even more benefits to your health if you make these two simple lifestyle changes, including:

A healthier brain - The stronger you are, the lower your risk of developing Alzheimer's Disease.

Less weight gain - The more strength you have, the less likely you are to gain weight as you age.

Lower blood pressure - Stronger muscles are associated with lower blood pressure

Lower risk of heart disease - Staying strong reduces your chance of developing metabolic syndrome issues such as abdominal fat, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high cholesterol.  These issues are closely connected to heart disease.

Less inflammation - Inflammation contributes to many unpleasant health issues as we age, including heart disease and arthritis. The stronger you are, the less inflammation you are likely to have.

Lower risk of developing diabetes - Increased muscle mass leads to better insulin sensitivity and a lower risk of developing diabetes or prediabetes. 

Higher cancer survival rate - Researchers have discovered that people with greater muscle mass are more likely to survive certain types of cancer, including breast cancer and prostate cancer.  

Greater happiness and less depression - People with a strong grip are less likely to suffer from depression.  Practice squeezing those tennis balls!

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