... older adults aging stronger
Strength training is appropriate for, and of the utmost importance to older adults. For the purpose of this article we will define older adults as greater than fifty-five years of age or less than fifty-five years of age but deconditioned to physical activity. Older adults are lead to believe that a significant loss of ability is a normal part of the aging process. At sixty years old grandpa may be able to take the grandchildren for a walk but why shouldn’t he be able to take them for a bike ride, play a game of tag, or adventure on that seven mile hike? At seventy is it really satisfactory that grandma can only get out of her chair with assistance? At eighty is it truly acceptable that grandpa has fallen for the second time this month? “Oh but grandma and grandpa are still sharp as a tack.” Mental capacity is extremely important but so is physical ability, and loss of physical ability is largely preventable. Strength is critical for quality of life, longevity, and is entirely appropriate for the older adult.
A critical loss of strength and ability does not have to be a normal part of the aging process. Largely because the general adult population is sedentary, significant muscle loss occurs during aging. Higher threshold motor units, responsible for power production, are the first to go. This loss of muscle also means a loss of metabolic machinery and a decrease in metabolic rate. The result of this loss is an increase in body fat. Additionally, connective tissue quality changes and bone density decreases. Due to these myriad of changes, 15% of performance can be lost every ten years. (Keller, Englehardt, 2013).