With the summer months upon us, more of us will be participating in and enjoying outdoor activities such as golf, tennis, and water sports.  By the way we were created, we begin to lose muscle mass as we age, which in turn can affect our abilities to participate in the activities that we enjoy.

It has been shown that about one-third of our total muscle mass is lost between the ages of 30 and 80. By the seventh decade of life, some muscles may only have 75% of the total number of muscle fibers compared with muscles of young adults.  This muscle fiber loss begins at approximately the age of 25 and, unfortunately, accelerates thereafter.  The good news is that training can both reverse aging atrophy as well as maintain muscle fibers in elderly individuals similar as to in the young.    There have been several studies that have shown that muscle hypertrophy, which is a response to resistance training, has been found almost indistinguishable when comparing younger and elderly people.  In general, recommendations for strength training are as follows:

When first starting out, you want to choose a weight that can be comfortably performed with at least 10 to 12 repetitions.  It is also recommended that you typically do multiple sets, anywhere between two to three, and that exercises be performed at least two times per week and at a maximum of three times per week in regards to strength training.  Also, as muscles respond to training specifically, it is also beneficial to identify strengthening exercises that will help you with whatever activity you are participating in, be it golf, tennis, etc., and focus on those specific exercises.

As always, before beginning an exercise regimen, please consult your physician to make sure that you are healthy enough to start exercising.  If you are in question as to what exercises to do, please feel free to consult with the team at PRI, and we can make recommendations based upon your specific needs.

Ref:  Specific Rehabilitation, Albert Donatelli, PhD, PT, OCS.  Copyright 2007 by Churchill Livingston