Think about how hard activities can become as you lose muscle. Activities such as getting up and out of a chair without using your arm strength, getting off the floor, walking up and down stairs while carrying objects, carrying in groceries from the store, maintenance of your home, lifting or holding a grandchild. These are concerns patients I have worked with bring to me. Things they would like to do but don’t have the strength to handle.
My answer is building muscle, which we can do at any age. I have had people with heart disease in their 90’s working with weight machines. I start most with dumbbells or soup cans and build them up to exercises using their own body for resistance, then if able get them to the weight machines. The results are not always noticeable in the physique, but rather in the abilities to do perform activities of daily living. As we age we develop many orthopedic – bone and joint issues which limit ability to do traditional strengthening exercises – such as weight machines. Don’t let that stop you from performing strengthening exercises. There are many ways to work around the barriers. Find an ACSM certified exercise specialist in your community to assist you, or a physical therapist. Work these exercises into a daily routine, not just a quick fix for a particular issue. Stick with these exercises, if you have to stop, so be it but build them back into your routine as soon as possible. Your body will thank you!