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Resistance Training: The Key to Healthy Aging and Fending Off Sarcopenia
Is physical decline inevitable as we age? Are we destined to become frail and dependent on others?
Starting as early as age 30, we begin to lose muscle mass and strength gradually due to normal physiological changes. However, some of us lose it more quickly because of a condition called sarcopenia, which becomes more common with age and results in functional decline. While the loss of muscle mass and strength are both associated with an increased risk of adverse health outcomes—including loss of independence, osteoporosis, risk of falls, and more frequent hospitalization—studies show that resistance training is the number one way to prevent and slow the progression of sarcopenia.
Our bodies are incredibly resilient and adapt specifically to the demands we put on them. Unfortunately, our society allows us to demand less from our bodies on a daily basis and the “use it or lose it” principle rings true. As we age our movements become very linear and less frequent, allowing crucial muscle groups that perform strength and stability in the lateral and rotational planes of movement to become inactive and atrophy.
Thankfully, it’s never too late to reverse age related strength and muscle loss! An individualized progressive resistance training program allows for immediate positive adaptations that will leave you with stronger bones, more mobility, boosted immune systems, confidence, and freedom.
I have this discussion with many of my clients when we first start. And it does not take long for them to understand, feel, and see the benefits of resistance training when they learn how to use their bodies more efficiently, gain the confidence to perform the daily tasks they want to do, and get the improved bone density and muscle mass results from their doctors.
From improving bone density 15% in 6 months, to winning their country club golf tournament, to decreasing blood pressure and medications needed, to now being able to go on bucket list vacations cane free, the goals our senior members have been able to achieve through resistance training and diet have ranged from necessary to previously unimaginable. And our fitness staff could not be prouder of them.
There is always room for improvement no matter where you are in your fitness journey, and it always helps to have someone guide and encourage you along that way. Here at YWCA Greenwich, we truly enjoy helping our members become better versions of themselves on a daily basis and our certified personal trainers are eagerly waiting to meet you in stride once you take the first step to come in.
See you soon,
Garrett Withiam, ATC
Assistant Director of Health & Fitness
Personal Training Manager