Believe it or not, I still have people that tell me that they do not want to do any form of resistance or strength training and that they would rather do pilates, yoga or just go for a walk. All of these are fine, but what if I told you that strength training is vital if you want to age well. What if I told you that after middle age, people lose an average of 3% of their muscle strength every year? This phenomenon is known as Sarcopenia. So where osteopenia is the term used to describe a decrease in bone mineral density (or bone mass), Sarcopenia is the term used for a loss in skeletal muscle mass due to ageing.
So let’s look at it a different way. As we age, strength training is not about bulking up or body building, it is really about trying to stop us getting weaker. Losing muscle mass (and hence getting weaker) will affect your ability to do daily tasks such as getting up out of bed, getting out of a low chair and doing tasks like grocery shopping. Studies have also shown that people suffering from sarcopenia are 2.3 times more likely to suffer from fractures from falls (think hip fractures, arm fractures etc) due to an increased falls risk and frailty.
The good news is that we can fight back against sarcopenia. Using a progressive resistance training program, lean muscle mass can be increased. A progressive resistance training program is one where loads and reps are manipulated over time to try to limit plateaus in strength gains.
In 2018, Out of the Box Physiotherapy did away with pure pilates programs and we introduced progressive resistance training programs to our clients using a range of equipment and training techniques. Whilst we don’t hate pilates, we were more comfortable offering people exercise programs that we knew would have the biggest impact on their health.
We currently deliver these programs in a variety of formats, from one on one personal sessions in our gym to group circuit classes with other options that sit in between this such as semi-private sessions and the like.
Our physios love seeing our clients improve their strength and we love helping people to fit back against ageing. We firmly believe that everyone, regardless of age, gender or injury history can do a progressive resistance training program that will help to fight off not only osteopenia (and osteoporosis) but also sarcopenia as well.
So after reading this, if you would like to start incorporating some resistance training into your life then please reach out to us and book a consultation. This will allow us to get to know you and your situation and provide personalised options to help you move forward. This can even be a program that we develop for you to do at home or your current gym. The biggest thing is that you get started sooner rather than later and fight back against that ageing process. The moral of the story, “Don’t Weaken”.
Yours in health
Chris from Out of the Box Physiotherapy.