Resistance Training as I get Older

Including strength training into your exercise routine as your aging will not only improve your daily life but extend your independence long after retirement.

Treat strength training like your retirement plan

If planning your finances to have a good retirement in the future, you should also consider what your health and well being will also look like at that stage.

Once over the age of 30 we start to see muscle loss of 3-8% every decade. From 50+ this percentage escalates.Muscle loss as we age

How does Muscle loss effect my future?

Previously I wrote a blog on redefining “your normal”. It’s a continuously changing shape, molded by your own abilities and limited by fears, lifestyle and lack of challenging the boundaries.

Loosing muscle with age has shown that balance and walking pattern deteriorates, which increases the risk of falling. This reinforces fear and the walls of normal slowly close in.

The other factor with a decline in muscle mass is that bone density follows the same path. This is not a great combination; high falls risk and low bone density.  Leaving that next fall to be potentially the next fracture.

That’s got the doom and gloom out the way!

How does resistance training fit in?

Resistance training comes in all shapes and forms. Using the right type of training should reflect on the individuals health, abilities, mobility and understanding of movement to ensure safety.

It’s well known that resistance training helps to increase muscle mass and strength. To achieve these changes there needs to be a physical and metabolic stress to exceed the demand of the muscle. This increased demand helps to stimulate muscle growth.

By applying this type of training 2-3 times per week we can slow the effects of aging and maintain the levels of independence well into our retirement age.

Resistance training can be as simple as body weight movements, gym machines, free weights, all the way to TRX suspension or High intensity training such as CrossFit.

Be careful what you read about strength training

The distorted truth through the media, of weightlifting is that it’s not safe and will cause you to suddenly have super inflated muscles. While this might be true for professional lifters that have dedicated their lives to their sport, for the average person it will provide strength and improve body composition.

The deadlift and squat are compound movements and we use them in everyday tasks. These are essential movements, when we lift things of the ground or pick the kids up we use these types of movements. Getting stronger at them will protect us from injury.

Recently there’s been some outcries from highly regarded health professionals in the States after Readers Digest published a bold article listing exercises that are “dangerous” for individuals over 50 year old. Without evidence to support these statements.

Here’s to name a few:-

  1. Push-ups
  2. Squats with weights
  3. Bench press
  4. Burpees
  5. Pull-ups
  6. Deadlift

The above list of movements all have a level of function to play in your day to day life and completely avoiding them would only lead to further weakness. The video below by the institute of Clinical excellence shows the varying resistance exercises elderly people are able to achieve.

It’s never too late

As we age there’s still potential not just to maintain but also build muscle even going into your 60’s. It is important though to find the right level of training that matches your current level of fitness and not your expectations from years gone by.

If your at a gym, a trainer might be able to guide you with the correct exercises. You may want to get professional medical advice with a specific exercise programme to match your level of conditioning and prevent injury.

What’s important is that you put some resistance training back into your life and see the improvements in your general well being.

 

References

Volpi et al (2004) Muscle tissue changes with aging

Ambrose et al (2013) Risk factors for falls among older adults: a review of the literature

Edwards M, et al. (2013) Muscle size, strength and physical performance and their association to bone structure.

Seguin, et al (2003) The benefits of strength training for older adults

The Holiday Workout

Most of us when on Holiday completely switch off from exercise. If you don’t want to miss out on training try some of these workouts.

This blog follows on from The Office Workout I published a few months ago. There are times we neglect exercise, most commonly in the Office and when taking time off, going on holiday.

The usual story is you’ve been training hard all year and then go on vacation. At home you’re a finely tuned machine with a strict routine. In holiday mode, that routine usually goes out the window. Now try not to fear, a week away from the gym will not cause significant losses in muscle mass or fitness.

But if you’re feeling fidgety and can’t just lie in the sun, I’ve put together some options. Also try making some up yourself, get creative with the movements you use in the gym.

Take a rope…

One of the easiest pieces of equipment you can take away. It’s small and light to carry. Work on singles or doubles. Develop your technique and surprise your training buddies when you get back.

75DU’s – 50 air squats – 25 burpees – 20 push ups – 25 burpees – 50 air squats – 75DU’s

Other DU options….

30 HSPU/Push ups – 40 Mountain limbers – 50 Sit ups – 60 Squats – 70DU’s

3 rounds: 20 DU’s – 30 Walking Lunges – 40 Push ups – 30 Squats – 20 V-sit ups – 10 Burpees

Use the ocean…

Unless you’re a CrossFit Games athlete, how often are you doing interval training with swimming?  Find a quite section of beach and jump in the water.

8 Rounds: 100m swim – 10 Push ups – 15 Sit ups

Other swimming options…

30 mins AMRAP 50m Swim – 10 Push ups – 15 Air squats

15 mins AMRAP 50m Swim – 30 seconds treading – 50m Swim 

Use the Beach…

The sand creates another challenge of instability that you don’t have in the gym. Train in the sand to make the workout harder.

5 Rounds: 10 Push ups – 15 Air squats – 50 Walking lunges – 10 Burpees

21 – 15 – 9 Push ups and Air squats – 400m run each round

15m Bear Crawl – 20 Push ups – 15m Crab Walk – 20 Squats – 15m Burpees broad jumps – 20 Mountain Climbers

Get Creative

Think of other possible ways of training on holiday. They might not always work but it’s worth trying.

Knee OA – The importance on strength training

Knee osteoarthritis can cause major disability. This piece of current literature supports that resistance training plays a major role in pain relief.

Bartholdy 2017

Knee osteoarthritis is a condition that gets treated overly careful due to its painful nature and limiting factors functionally.

Osteoarthritis is the gradual wearing down of the joint surfaces (cartilage) over time. Deterioration over time based on may factors, from the type of work and sport, injury history, genetics (collagen type) etc.

Knee Extensors OA

An exacerbation of osteoarthritis, especially in the knee can be debilitating. Reducing strength, restricting movement and limiting mobility. This recent study analysed almost 5000 participants from 45 trials. It found that the best results for reducing pain and disability was through increasing quads strength by over 30%.

This puts resistance training top of the agenda when trying to alleviate pain in an arthritic knee. Grading the exercises appropriately with the guidance of an expert. This study shows good results of strengthening the quads, we should approach it balanced by also working the other connecting muscles.

Original Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To analyse if exercise interventions for patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA) following the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) definition of muscle strength training differs from other types of exercise, and to analyse associations between changes in muscle strength, pain, and disability.

METHODS: A systematic search in 5 electronic databases was performed to identify randomised controlled trials comparing exercise interventions with no intervention in knee OA, and reporting changes in muscle strength and in pain or disability assessed as standardised mean differences (SMD) with 95% confidence intervals (95% CI). Interventions were categorised as ACSM interventions or not-ACSM interventions and compared using stratified random effects meta-analysis models. Associations between knee extensor strength gain and changes in pain/disability were assessed using meta-regression analyses.

RESULTS: The 45 eligible trials with 4699 participants and 56 comparisons (22 ACSM interventions) were included in this analysis. A statistically significant difference favoring the ACSM interventions with respect to knee extensor strength was found [SMD difference: 0.448 (95% CI: 0.091-0.805)]. No differences were observed regarding effects on pain and disability. The meta-regressions indicated that increases in knee extensor strength of 30-40% would be necessary for a likely concomitant beneficial effect on pain and disability, respectively.

CONCLUSION: Exercise interventions following the ACSM criteria for strength training provide superior outcomes in knee extensor strength but not in pain or disability. An increase of less than 30% in knee extensor strength is not likely to be clinically beneficial in terms of changes in pain and disability

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/28438380/

The Office WOD

Do your best when no one is looking. If you do that, then you can be successful at anything that you put your mind to.

Following up from last weeks piece about SITTING POSTURE. It’s not about holding the perfect posture. Whats more important is changing position regularly, adding variation. Holding postures long enough results in changes to the strength of a muscle and how quickly it activates.

Neuroplasticity

This refers to the brain constantly changing to its environment, trying to find more efficient neural connections.

Consider your memory at school, studying a particular subject and you ace the exams. Now think 10 years on and you’ve done nothing relating to the subject, you’ll likely struggle with the same exam paper. The neural connections changed, these memories were not regularly reinforced and were forgotten.

Look at the typical sitting posture above that we find most of us in. Multiple changes are happening from head to toe. This also happens on a neural level. The longer we hold this posture the more the change will be ingrained. When doing complex activities that require fast reactions or more strength the adapted structures will make the task more challenging.

The Office WOD

The office workout is focusing on the neglected muscles we forget to stretch or use throughout the working day. Following this routine, 10-15 minutes at Lunch or on a coffee break will help maintain healthy muscle activity and length.

**This does not substitute exercise that gets your heart rate elevated.

The Workout won’t draw too much attention to you in the office. I won’t have you doing planks off the office chair or dead lifting the photocopier.

1. Chin Tucks (1 minute)

2. Neck Extensor stretch (1 minute)

3. Thoracic Spine Stretch (2 minute)

4. Posterior Shoulder Strengthening (1 minute)

5. Forearm  Stretch (1 minute Each)

6. Glute Strengthening (1 minute)

7. Hip Flexor Stretch (1 minute each)

8. Hamstring Stretch (1 minute each)

9. Calf Stretch (1 minute each)

Try these exercises in your workplace to get muscles fired up again and working. Feel free to leave a comment about any of the exercises or any suggestions for changes.