Muscle strength is key to your overall health. For healthy vibrant muscles, joints, and bones that work well now and in the years to come, strength training is your best investment!
To move well, our muscle tone and strength is critical for posture, functional capacity, and body composition. It’s vital we care for our muscles throughout our lives. Sarcopenia – the natural decline in muscle mass and strength as we age – affects not only the elderly but also younger adults with sedentary lifestyles who may start losing muscle from their mid-30s. By focusing on building muscle strength, you’re taking proactive steps towards improving your overall health and well-being!
The Benefits Of Muscular Strength
Enhanced functional fitness: Essentrics builds strength with exercises that mimic everyday life: reaching, twisting, pulling and lunging. This heightened strength and vitality often leads to an active lifestyle that includes keeping up with the kids or pursuing hobbies like golfing, hiking and gardening.
Feeling good inside & out: Muscle strength improves our emotional and cognitive health. We make better decisions, connect with others, feel confident, less stressed, sleep better and feel great! Essentrics is mentally stimulating, keeping us engaged and focused.
Improved healthspan: Being strong should be part of your lifestyle at every decade. Essentrics provides a progressive challenge suitable for everyone, from beginners to advanced, including those looking to improve their pickleball game! Our balanced approach prevents injury and overuse, while enhancing mobility, balance and the health and strength of connective tissue. More benefits: better posture, energy, and decreases in risk and severity of chronic conditions such as insulin sensitivity, heart disease, osteoporosis, and pain.
Staying Strong Through The Years
20s & 30s
During this period, the body is primed for muscle toning and development due to the efficient repair-and-replace system. Muscle fibers grow and activate rapidly, increasing our power. Our BMR — basal metabolic rate — soars with more muscle mass; we burn calories even at rest! With this additional strength comes decreased risk for injury, enabling us to participate in various sports and recreational activities.
Resistance training also supports a healthy metabolism and balanced hormones. Notably, pregnant women benefit from a reduced risk of excessive weight gain, gestational diabetes, and postpartum depression with strength training.
Top tip: Use the power of imagery to fire up your brain! Visual cues like “pushing the piano” and “washing sticky windows” activate the correct muscles and resistance effectively. Listen to the instructor’s cues and don’t rush. Give your muscles the attention they deserve.
40s & 50s
At the age of 40 and beyond, there is a 3-5 % decline in strength and power every year. “Use it or lose it” happens earlier than most believe!
Strength training is especially beneficial in this age range – our metabolism remains active with more muscles working. Essentrics can help counter sedentary habits that have crept into daily life (desk work, carpooling, and screentime), and best of all, it can be done in a time-efficient way!
For women navigating menopause and lowering estrogen levels, resistance training is crucial to stimulate muscle growth and improve menopausal symptoms, including bone loss, night sweats, insomnia, depression, and stubborn belly fat.
Top tip: We know you’re busy, but here’s a weekly plan you can do! Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day. Our Ages Toning challenge is the perfect way to kickstart this daily movement habit, getting your heart rate up and building muscle strength!
60s & 70s
The muscle loss associated with aging is not inevitable! You can still increase your strength and endurance at this stage of life. Strength training increases bone density, relieves pain and promotes independence. Notably, muscular strength improves balance and prevents falls, keeping you sturdy and stable. It also boosts your brain, enhancing executive functioning and memory.
Top tip: Pay close attention to proper alignment and technique, especially the importance of knee alignment in plies and lunges. Never move in pain –modify exercises as needed by slowing down, taking breaks or working in a smaller range of motion.
Embracing strength training empowers you to continue to live your life how you want: keeping bones strong, joints healthy, and the body mobile. It is vital for your fitness journey and enhances your health exponentially! It’s never too late – or too early – to start building and maintaining muscle strength throughout your healthspan with Essentrics.
Contributing writer Dr. Nanette Tummers, Level 4 Essentrics® Instructor
Embrace Your Decade, and Train for the Next!