Are you noticing that you’re not as strong as you once were? Are you having difficulty doing things that up until a few years ago, you didn’t even have to think about? Or are you still as mobile as you always were, but are finding that nowadays you pay for it later?
If you’ve been out in the garden weeding and bending or pushed yourself a bit too hard when playing with your grandkids, you may find that pain and stiffness flair up the next day. This issue happens slowly over time as you age, and many people find that it sneaks up on them until one day, they just can’t move as effortlessly as they used to. This puts us at a huge risk of injury, especially when we don’t listen to our bodies.
As we age, the amount and size of the muscle fibres in our bodies reduces. A depletion of muscles fibres means we’re not as strong as we used to be, and therefore need to take more care when doing those jobs that could cause us to strain a muscle. Jobs that were once easy can now seem daunting. The good news is that with a bit of hard work, you can completely slow this process and start to improve your strength!
Resistance training! The current Australian guidelines based on the World Health Organisation recommend that adults over the age of 50 should participate in moderate intensity progressive resistance training 2 or more days a week.
But first, what is resistance training? It centres around lifting weights or performing exercises that utilise your own body weight, such as squats, lunges or pushups. These types of exercises help to increase the size, number and strength of the muscle fibres in your body, which results in an overall increase of strength.
Moderate intensity means that the effort you put into doing these exercises should sit at about a 7-8 out of 10. The key is to make sure you don’t overdo it, and always listen to what your body is telling you. If you find this too intense, start off slowly at a lesser intensity (try about a 5-6 out of 10 intensity), and build up your stamina over several weeks.
If you’re unsure of where to start or would like some advice on what exercises are best suited to you, come and talk to our clinicians. We specialise in building personalised exercise programs that will get you back on track to feeling stronger. You can either give us a call, or book your appointment online.