Senior Citizens


Got Sarcopenia? If you are over forty you have it

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The term sarcopenia has not been in common usage for very long (see graph), but the condition has been around forever.  Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle tissue that occurs as a natural part of the aging process. According to this article, Why You're Aging Ungracefully, there are two things we can do to help maintain our muscle as we age - lift weights and eat high-quality protein.

A quote from the article:

Sarcopenia begins naturally in the 4th and 5th decades of life, making your 40s and 50s an ideal time to increase dietary protein and weight training, but even those in their 60s and beyond can benefit."

Another quote:

"The stronger you are, the more muscle you have, the less likely you are to become sick or die."  


Strength training study shows seniors improving far more than younger set

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Two groups of men and women strength trained for six months. One group was older and the other younger. At the start of the study the older group was 59% weaker than the younger group. After six months the older adults were only 38% weaker than younger adults. Both groups improved, but the older group improved much more. 

From this study Resistance Exercise Reverses Aging in Human Skeletal Muscle

“We conclude that healthy older adults show evidence of mitochondrial impairment and muscle weakness, but that this can be partially reversed at the phenotypic level, and substantially reversed at the transcriptome level, following six months of resistance exercise training”.

Mitochondria, found in most cells, is where respiration and energy production takes place. Six months of strength training partially reversed mitochondria impairments to a level consistent with a younger stage in life. It is like having a fountain of youth.


Adding muscle and losing fat at age 65

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Donna is 65 years old and five feet tall. She does her strength training at our gym once a week and attends a weight loss clinic somewhere else. At the weight loss clinic they have a machine that measures body composition. Donna said it even measures body composition in different parts of the body. 

As a result of their weight loss program people generally lose weight - some of it is fat, and some of it is muscle. Kathy did lose fat, and contrary to normal expectations, they were surprised to find that she actually gained muscle.


Strength Training To Prevent Falls

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When my father was getting up in age he had a couple of nasty falls, once breaking a rib and once banging his head pretty badly.  My father became forgetful.  An MRI revealed that there was damage to his brain.  The doctors speculated that it was most likely a result of a fall.

As people age they lose strength and with that gait speed and that results in a loss of balance.  With the loss of strength they lose the ability to recover from a stumble.  Falls inevitably occur, and those that do fall who are frail are more likely to suffer injuries as result of that fall.

Falling is the 14th leading cause of death among the elderly.

Each year, more than one-third of Americans over 65 sustain falls, total cost of fall injuries for people 65 and older was $20.2 billion in 1994, and that is expected to reach $32.4 billion by 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Strength training seniors live longer and better lives

personal trainers at work personal training New Orleans

Our clients at  Austin Personal Trainers and New Orleans Personal Trainers cover a wide spectrum of ages not least of which are those who are older.  Our oldest client was 95, and one of our trainers has four clients over eighty.  People in this cohort of the population have the most to gain in quality and length of life.

Increased strength will result in increased gait speed, and that will result in better balance. Strength training will result in stronger muscles yes, but bones become stronger as well.  Elderly that are stronger are less likely to fall, and if they do they are more likely to walk away unscathed.

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