“Help, I’m Falling Apart at 60!”
I can’t count the number of people who have told me they feel like they’re starting to fall apart as soon as the hit the age of sixty. They complain about aches and pains they’ve never felt before, sense a loss of balance, experience a slower walk and feel less energetic. They definitely don’t feel like they’re aging strong.
A few years ago, it made me feel petrified to reach this magical age where everything seems to breakdown. However, after educating myself, I now know that chronological age has much less to do with how a person looks and feels at sixty, versus what their healthy habits (or lack thereof) have been, leading up to this age. It’s a fact that so many of us become less active with age. We need to turn this around and focus on aging strong!
Aging Strong, Requires Work
Research shows that an average person who doesn’t strength train to build or maintain their muscle mass, and who sits for most of the day, will lose a half a pound of muscle each year starting at the age of twenty-five. Unfortunately, this loss is so slow that it’s not noticeable for decades. So many people don’t think about, or work on building muscles and strength in early adulthood.
Most individuals don’t realize a change in their body composition or strength until they reach a point where daily chores become more challenging. Maybe the grocery bags start feeling heavier, or gardening causes low back or knee pain for days afterwards. At this point, muscle loss has happened, and although it’s never too late to start strength training, it is more challenging to build muscle later in life, versus keeping it on throughout your twenties into your golden years.
Regardless of your current age and physical state, I recommend that we all start training to build-up our muscle mass immediately, focus on aging strong!
Here’s How to Start Building Muscle Today
Get Pushing and Pulling!
Strength training and cardio endurance training are not the same thing. To build muscles, you have to strength train. You have to push, pull, lift, bend and hinge. If you are new to this form of exercise, I suggest that you start with body weight training. It’s an effective and safe way to start building your muscles.
When you do begin lifting weights, it’s often safest to start light and see how you feel the next day. If you feel nice and strong, with no muscle tenderness, feel free to increase the weight over time.
Performing strength training for two to three days weekly, is what most people need to get stronger or maintain their strength. The key is to stay consistent with the work. If you travel a lot, there are many fitness tools you can use to stick with your program. Resistance bands are a versatile, easy to carry, strength training tool to travel with.
To err on the side of caution, it may be safest for you to begin your strength training routine by working with a fitness professional, or at least a loved one who knows what they are doing in the gym. They should be able to show you how to perform each exercise correctly, which is so important to your long-term strength and health.
Creating a healthy muscle mass doesn’t mean you’ll look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. In fact, getting even close to his size isn’t possible for 99.9% of us.
To me, when you build muscles, you are able to safely and comfortably perform any daily life tasks. You’re able to carry groceries, climb stairs, and clean your home both inside and out. You have energy to walk your dog or play with your grandchildren without feeling pain during or after the tasks.
To Sum it up…
Many people feel like they begin falling apart physically, when they hit their senior years. Chronological age has much less to do with how a person looks and feels at sixty, versus what their healthy habits (or lack thereof) have been, leading up to this age. Aging strong is crucial. Start maintaining or building your muscles now by performing strength training weekly. Body weight training is a great way to begin. Learn the proper form of each exercise by either working out with an educated friend, or a fitness professional.
It’s never too late to get started, so make today the day you begin building your muscles!