As you age, you’ll experience changes in your body from slow movement to slow memory retrieval. One of those changes will also include the deterioration of your muscles. You can experience muscle pain and muscle weakness because the mitochondria1 in your muscle cells become weaker.
But you shouldn’t feel hopeless because there is a way to prevent this from happening, and that is through exercise.
Exercise has been known to help your muscles regardless of your age. For older people, exercise increases the endurance of their muscles making them less susceptible to strain and injury. Here are the two best types of exercises that could help your muscles and bones maintain their strength even at the age of 60.
Like its name, strength training aims to strengthen your muscles, bones, joints, and ligaments through the use of weights. These weights can come from a machine, weights, or even your own body weight. The way training goes is, you start off with light weights and it slowly becomes heavier as you do more reps.
Strength training can be done by teenagers as well as senior citizens because the workout’s intensity can be controlled. There are also a lot of benefits linked to this type of exercise:
- Muscle strength. When your muscles are strong, you can easily do more things. This is most beneficial for older people because their muscles deteriorate over time. With strength training, their muscles will get used to particular movements making them resistant to pain.
- Better body coordination. Because your muscles will be in tune with another, it’s not going to be difficult to move around. At the same time, even if you are in a static position, your muscles will not ache easily because balance and posture will be improved by strength training.
- Keeps your body fit. When you get old, your metabolism also decreases, making it a lot easier for you to gain and store weight without losing them as fast. With strength training, it improves how your body burns calories. It’s also a good way to stay fit.
Like strength training, interval training takes its name from the intervals you take. It alternates high-intensity workouts with low- to moderate-intensity workouts during rest periods. This means that a total rest period in between doesn’t happen because you will be doing low-intensity workouts instead.
For example, you would be running for three minutes straight. After three minutes, you will cool down by jogging at a steady pace for the same amount of time. Once that’s done, you go back to running and then jogging, and so on.
As a senior citizen, you are probably wondering if your body can handle this. Well, there is always the right intensity for you even if it’s going to be tiring. At the same time, interval training is known to benefit older people in several ways:
- Reverses the signs of aging. Research has recently shown that interval training reverses the effects of old age on a cellular level. This means that as you grow old, your body won't have to deteriorate as fast as it normally would.
- More calories burned in less time. Without going through an hour of intense exercises, interval training burns more calories than simply doing weights and cardio. Because you won’t be having any cool-down during the exercise, your body learns to recover at a faster rate.
- Strengthens muscles. Needless to say, your muscles become stronger over time. Because interval training improves how the mitochondria give power to muscle cells, your muscles will gain more strength and endurance.
Overall, these two types of exercises can help senior citizens with their muscle problems. If you still have hesitations regarding your body’s ability to do these exercises then look me up at my physiotherapy practice in Melbourne, Australia.
1. Sun N, Youle RJ, Finkel T. The Mitochondrial Basis of Aging. Molecular cell. 2016;61(5):654-666.