We, and I presumptuously speak to the collective universe, just take things for granted. One of them is our loss of strength because we really don’t recognize it until it’s a little late. I’m one of those folks. My actualization came when I was doing my PT exercises at the end of my routine and I was watching a “30 something” lady working with her trainer. She was new and you could see how difficult some of the exercises were for her BUT she persevered and conquered the workout. In my mind I thought she’s so young to be struggling with strength issues.
I was really geeked watching the back stories of the Olympians and their training routines. WOW…………………………. No I’ll never jump onto a 50 inch box, but I was in awe of the young woman that did. I’m currently working on stepping up on the “step” we have in the gym. I’m showing you Ted Ligety’s off season training (click his name). He’s just amazing. He talks about sports science and how it helps with his sport.
I digress. Back to it.
By strength issues, it’s not about weights because many of the trainers use your own body to do squats, burpees, push-ups, and they fit the “toys” in here and there to help you. Strength in my mind, and I believe in others, is the life-sized video in our minds of us at 20 something where we did it all and looked great doing it.
At 59 I do lament the inability to do certain things but I have to keep working at it. One of my favorite authors, Dr. Miriam Nelson, writes exclusively about an epidemic of weakness in her book “Strong Women Stay Slim”.
“What’s happening to our strength? I’ve already explained that many women lose muscle when they diet. An inactive lifestyle also plays a role “use it or lose it” definitely applies to muscles. Even more pervasive is the shift in body composition that begins in midlife. Starting around age 40 we typically lose muscle mass at the rate of about a third of a pound a year, and we gain that much body fat or more. If nothing is done to prevent it, by age 80 we’ll have only a third of the muscle we had at age 40. This change, called Sarcopenia, is one of the chief reasons for frailty and loss of vitality later in life.” (38)
Dr. Nelson points out the reasons to start strength training – it can be full body weight or the addition of light weights. (45-49)
- Exercise Turns Back the Clock
- Exercise Fights Disease and Disability
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Arthritis and Joint Problems
- Active Women are Happier
- Being Active Makes Women Feel better About Themselves
- Fitness Fights Depression
- Physical Activity Reduces Anxiety and Stress
- Exercise is Better than a Sleeping Pill
I really encourage you to pick up her books. The one I’m quoting from today is titled, “Strong Women Stay Slim”, published by Bantam. She has a website that can provide information but the books are really what will help you to be knowledgeable and perhaps inspire you to get moving. Her information is data driven and opens your eyes into what’s happening to you as you age.