Tag Archive for: Home Workouts

For many of us, getting older isn’t easy. We persevere through stiffness, aches, and pains.

The good news is we don’t have to accept these “inconveniences” of age as inevitable.

The key, my friends, is lean muscle mass.  According to Dr. Allen Mishra, an orthopedic surgeon at Stanford, “muscles are modifiable until the day you die.” And there’s recent research to back this up.

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Vonda Wright notes that “we do not have to be the victims of the passage of time; we don’t have to go down a slippery slope from vitality to frailty and do nothing about it.”  She states that the number one thing that can save our lives is our lean muscle mass.

Muscles play a crucial role in aging and longevity due to their impact on overall health, mobility, and metabolic function. Here are several reasons why muscle matters for aging and longevity:

 

  • Metabolism and Weight Management: Muscle tissue is more metabolically active than fat tissue, which burns more calories even at rest. As people age, they tend to lose muscle mass, which can decrease basal metabolic rate. This makes it easier to gain weight and harder to maintain a healthy weight, which in turn can increase the risk of various health conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. Preserving muscle mass through exercise and a balanced diet can help mitigate these risks.

 

  • Bone Health is a subject I’m passionate about: Muscles are connected to bones through tendons, and when muscles contract, they exert force on bones, which in turn helps to stimulate bone growth. This is crucial, especially for women who are at a higher risk of osteoporosis, a condition where bones become weak and brittle. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), one in two women over 50 will experience an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime. Engaging in weight-bearing exercises and resistance training can improve bone density and reduce the risk of fractures as people age. And don’t forget impact exercises to “surprise the bones,” which, according to Wolf’s law, stimulates bone growth. If you do have osteopenia or osteoporosis, make sure to find a trainer or physical therapist who has special certification for working with osteoporosis. There are clear guidelines that need to be followed to keep you safe.

 

  • Leg Power Predicts Brain PowerAccording to a UK study by Steves et al 2015, evidence showed that the stronger the legs were, the less risk of dementia and the greater the gray matter in the brain. For those concerned about cognitive decline, this is an actionable step you can take. Strengthen those legs.

 

  • Balance and Fall Prevention: Strong muscles, particularly those in the legs and core, are essential for balance and stability. Falls are a significant concern for older adults, as they can lead to serious injuries such as hip fractures. Having good muscle strength and
    balance reduces the risk of falls and enhances the ability to recover from a loss of balance. Also, don’t forget that having strong arm and shoulder muscles and a strong core can help you avoid a fracture by “catching yourself” before your hips or knees hit the ground.

 

  • Functional Independence: Maintaining muscle mass and strength is directly linked to the ability to perform daily tasks
    independently. This includes activities such as walking, climbing stairs, carrying groceries, and getting up from a chair. As people age, the loss of muscle mass (sarcopenia) can impair these functional abilities, leading to a loss of independence. Regular strength training and exercise can help preserve muscle function and independence.

 

  • Hormone Regulation: We often perceive muscle as something that helps keep us strong or helps us move.  What we might not realize is that muscle also serves as an endocrine-like organ. When muscles contract, they release these molecules called myokines.  Myokines have positive effects on your Metabolic system, Cardiovascular system, Immune system and your Mental function.  Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) protects your brain and supports neuroplasticity essential for learning and memory. A 2023 study by Abou Sawan et al showed evidence that “increasing physical activity can affect cognitive function in older adults.”

 

  • Inflammatory Response: Chronic low-grade inflammation is a common feature of aging and is associated with various age-related diseases, including heart disease and Alzheimer’s. Regular exercise, especially resistance training, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects, which can contribute to better overall health and longevity.

 

  • Longevity and Quality of Life (QOL): Overall, maintaining muscle mass and strength is associated with a longer, healthier life. Studies have consistently shown that individuals with higher muscle mass tend to live longer and have a lower risk of age-related diseases. Additionally, having good muscle health improves the quality of life in older adults, allowing them to remain active, independent, and engaged in daily activities. If you don’t have the strength to take a walk, get into and out of your chair safely, or play with your grandkids, your quality of life plummets.

 

One of the key findings from the Okinawa Japan Blue Zone is that their environment naturally encouraged strengthening. For instance, a typical home has low-lying tables, and people sit on the floor. Centenarians rise up and down from the floor on average 30 times a day and, in the process, strengthen their hips, legs, and core and hone their balance. That’s a lot of squats and a lot of function!  Okinawan centenarians tend to their gardens most days. They weed, pull, dig, and squat for one to two hours a day. In contrast, falls are one of the top ten leading causes of death for older people in the US. They have weak hips and legs and poor balance because so many of them are sedentary, sitting in chairs and Lay Z Boys.

 

A few Commonsense Thoughts

We are not destined to go from vitality to frailty

Remember, your muscles are modifiable till the day you die.  Commit to continuous improvement to create the best version of yourself every day!  As Dr. Mishra suggests,  “Exercise relentlessly.”  Do resistance training daily.  He proposes you consider resistance training as necessary as brushing your teeth daily.

You don’t have to join a power-lifting club to maintain your muscle.  Just begin today to do some form of resistance training if you’re able. Work with a physical therapist or trainer to help you develop a customized strength training program regardless of your age. Dr. Mishra notes that the higher the weight, the more susceptible you might be to injury, like tearing a tendon. Instead, it’s more important to be consistent.

Here are some simple strength exercises you could begin today.

  • 💪 Biceps curls with hand weights that challenge you without strain. Emphasize slowing down the unfolding (eccentric phase) of the exercise. 8-10 reps

 

 

  • Triceps kickbacks with hand weights, emphasize slowing down the bending portion of the exercise. 8-10 reps

 

 

  • Resistance bands. 8-10 reps

 

 

  • Planks (start with hands and knees-lifting the knees just off the ground, spine straight) Hold 10-15 sec.

 

 

  • Chair Squats (sit-to-stand) Emphasize slowing the descent to the chair to build more control and strength. Start with five reps twice a day and build from there.

 

Muscles are not just about strength and appearance; they are vital for overall health, mobility, and longevity. To get optimal results, be consistent and take responsibility for showing up for yourself, even if you’re working with a trainer or PT.

One tip Dr. Mishra provided was this: even 8 minutes a day of strength training makes a difference!

If you’re short on time, the BoneSmart Burst™ subscription might be the answer. These 5 to 10-minute bone-safe workouts, designed by a physical therapist, are a great way to start your day or break up a day of too much sitting.  Participants say these bone-safe exercise bursts are “bite-sized enough to be doable with a busy schedule” and “the variety is great!”

In conclusion, to promote healthy aging and improve longevity, take agency for your own progress and modify your muscles with consistency and conviction.

 

Get rid of flabby upper arms with this toning exercise that also includes core strengthening, balance and a stretch for your pecs/front of shoulders! Presented by Teresa Maldonado Marchok, licensed physical therapist, PMA certified Pilates teacher and creator of the BoneSmart Pilates® method and DVD series. You can purchase the door anchor and resistance bands on our site www.BoneSmartPilates.com under the pull-down menu “Shop”, then select “PROPS”. Subscribe to our channel for more free videos and the latest updates!

 

In response to requests for streaming of my DVD’s, I am so excited to share that we have just launched our streaming offering of all 3 BoneSmart Pilates DVD’s!

 

Upper back-or Thoracic rotation is necessary for life activities like twisting to back up your car, golf, tennis… This video demonstrates a rotation exercise to improve your mobility in this area and avoid taking up the slack in your neck or low back.