Patients frequently ask what is the best way to maintain strength and muscle mass as they get older. I love this question since it is very important to do just that. Many of the common attributes associated with being “old” are related to age related loss of muscle strength and muscle mass. And make no mistake this will happen over time without a plan to prevent it. The good news is that the solution is very simple. If you perform three sets of appropriately intense resisted activity twice weekly for each major muscle group you can indeed stop and even reverse this age related muscle loss. Studies show that even people who are in their 90’s can indeed build muscle!
I break the upper body into pushing and pulling motions. Performing a pushing and pulling motion works every major muscle group in the entire upper body and if done in a standing position even works the core.
Whole body Push
start in a stride position (1 foot in front of the other) while facing away from the anchor point of the resistance band. Begin the motion by driving your hand forward as if punching while following through with your hips. Repeat this 20 to 30 times to good fatigue. The key here is being sure you have enough resistance to make this a properly strenuous activity.
Whole body pull / row
Start in the same stride stance position as the push but this time you are facing the bands anchor point. Pull back with the entire body allowing the elbow to bend and follow through as much as possible. Think of a rowing motion.
To Maintain lower body strength something as simple as body weight squats or the horse stance are great options.
1. squat – first tighten the muscles by slightly drawing the bellybutton to the spine. Then bend at the knees keeping your hips slightly back, as if you are going to sit down in a chair. Don’t bend too far right away and be sure to avoid knee pain. Work your way up to 30 repetitions
2. Horse stance – stand with feet shoulder wide, draw bellybutton to spine slightly to tighten the abdominal muscles, bend slightly at the knees bringing your hips back like you are about to sit down in a chair, stop and hold for up to 30 seconds, you should feel some fatigue developing in the hips and thighs. Repeat 10 times
So essentially maintain strength as you age can be very simple and it does not have to cost you a lot of time. Remember shoot for 2 to 3 sets of each twice per week. If you’d like one on one instruction feel free to contact us at 719-568-9790
As with any exercise program or activity be sure you’re healthy enough before you begin, it’s a great idea to check with your healthcare provider, and be sure to stop if you have any pain.