Midlife Minute: How Exercise Can Help Preserve Your Muscles (and Much More)
By Sheryl Kraft
Strength training gets so much more important as we age because we lose muscle. It starts in our late 30s or early 40s; after age 40 the average woman starts losing about ½ pound of muscle per year, even more if she does not actively use her muscles. And if you don't replace the muscle you lose, you'll increase the body fat percentage in your body. As you gain muscle, your body burns calories more efficiently.
Strength is not just about being strong enough to lift groceries and open heavy doors—it's about health. Loss of muscle mass affects balance, coordination and the ability to do simple things like get up out of a chair and even open a jar. Strength training can increase your bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. It helps strengthen your heart and control blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. Some research points out that regular strength training even sharpens your focus and memory.
This matters. We're all getting older and with that comes taking responsibility for our health. I look at it this way: there is a choice. Yes, choosing to stay strong takes some work, but the payoffs are huge. It's absolutely possible to stem the loss that comes with age by both building and preserving your muscles.
Tune in tomorrow, when I talk with fitness guru Kathy Smith and she reveals her secrets to staying one step ahead of aging.
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