Maintaining strength is increasingly important as we age, for a number of reasons.
Studies show that people start to lose muscle mass at a fairly rapid rate beginning around age 50.
That’s why it gets harder over the years to do everyday things, like getting up and down from chairs, the couch, the floor.
Climbing stairs can become more difficult.
Getting in and out of the bathtub.
When I was younger, I used to lift a lot more weight during gym workouts than I do now, which is OK. For example, I could sling around 65-pound dumbbells back in the day, which ain’t much for some people, but was pretty good for me. Now, 50- or 55-pound dumbbells is plenty.
Losing strength is an unfortunate part of aging, but there are things we can do to help slow down and even reverse the process.
Strength training is an obvious answer, but what does that mean, exactly?
Do you have to join a health club and start lifting weights?
That’s a great idea, but if you don’t have access to a health club, or the cost of a membership is out of reach right now, there is another way.
You can work out at home.
But I don’t have any equipment at home to work out, you say …
There’s a thing called bodyweight exercise.
Here’s an example:
To strengthen your legs, do bodyweight squats.
Simply stand with your feet a comfortable distance apart (about the width of your hips), fold your arms across your chest, or extend your hands and arms straight out in front of you, and bend at the knees, keeping your head up and your back straight. Eyes forward, and don’t be afraid to stick your rear end out a little as you squat down.
Ideally, you want to lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor. If you can’t go that low, that’s OK. Squat down as far as you can comfortably, maintaining the distance between your knees (don’t let your knees spread apart as you squat) and increase your range of motion over time.
Do 10 repetitions, up and down, then relax. Rest for a bit until you feel ready to go again, then do another set. After that, one more set.
Do three sets of 10.
Tomorrow, we’ll continue with more bodyweight exercises.
You can do it!