There is a natural decline that occurs with aging that can make you feel older than you are. You may be weaker, unsteady, and your ability to perform simple tasks becomes hindered. It is well known that muscle loss is a common problem with aging, so taking the necessary steps to prevent muscle loss is important if you want to continue to live a healthy life.
There are several benefits to having muscles in older age, including making bones stronger, promoting hormonal balance, and stimulating the mind. Additionally, building muscle through exercise may be considered the unofficial fountain of youth, as it can help you look and feel younger.
The best exercise to build muscle is strength training, and regardless of if you’re new to strength training or not, it can be completed at different levels.
Personal trainer, nutritionist, and life coach Joe Alvarez explained, “One advantage of muscle is it increases your lean body mass. For each pound of muscle you burn basically 30-50 extra calories a day.”
Muscle loss is most common among older individuals because they usually don’t move as much as their younger counterparts. Alvarez added, “After the age of 35 studies have found that people lose about half a pound of muscle a year. “From 35 on you lose 20 pounds if you’re not using your body. Overloading it with some form of strength mechanisms can help the body increase its muscle mass, or at least maintain it.”
Another downfall to losing muscle is that your metabolism slows down, which can lead to weight gain and cause more health problems.
Aside from building muscle through weight lifting, you can also strengthen your bones, which is another important factor as bones can become weaker and break far easier. When you bear weight, you are actually triggering the bones to make more bone, which in turn makes them stronger. This reduces your risk of fractures along with improving stability.
As mentioned, muscle-building can help regulate hormones, which can ward off weight gain and improve mood. For example, men tend to experience drops in their testosterone levels as they age. Sure, there are injections or patches to boost testosterone, but those solutions can trigger unwanted side effects. Instead, exercise offers a natural solution to boosting testosterone, which can leave men feeling much younger than what they are.
Alvarez continued, “We have a hormonal cascade that starts in our brain and neurological system. By working out and using strength training, you can lower the stress hormone cortisol and increase other hormones, because they all work in synchronicity together.”
Another concern for aging adults is memory loss, which is another reason why you should exercise more. Strength training has been shown to strengthen the mind. Exercise has been shown to improve symptoms of depression, mood, memory, and learning capabilities. When you exercise, blood flow is increased to the brain, which provides it with oxygen and other nutrients it needs to perform at its best and stay sharp.
If you want to start looking and feeling younger along with experiencing bone, mind, hormone, weight, and muscle benefits, then it is highly recommended that you integrate regular exercise into your daily routine. Although exercise won’t make you live forever, it can get you pretty close with living a long, youthful, pain-free, life.
Related: Exercise may also help maintain brain health: Study