One of the radio shows my husband does is called The Golden Life and it dispenses sage advice regarding financial planning for seniors. This is so important; we don’t want to spend our golden years working or struggling financially. On a similar note, we want to be able to HAVE those golden years and be able to enjoy them. If we don’t put the same effort into ensuring our bodies are as sound as our finances, the finances may not matter as much. Or worse, will be allocated solely to medical expenses.
As we age, Mother Nature bombards us with new and interesting ailments and conditions to battle: arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, post-menopausal weight gain (for the ladies, or gents claiming sympathy weight gain), forgetfulness, poor balance and flexibility, etc. etc. etc… If we don’t address and combat these issues, they will slowly take away from our quality and quantity of life…yes, some of these things can literally kill you.
We always hear that you need to stay active as a senior and this is definitely true, but how often do we hear that seniors should incorporate weight training into their daily routines? Most adults reach their peak bone mass around age 30, but begin to lose mass after age 40. Decreased bone mass obviously increases the risk of fractures and as we age, recovery time is significantly longer. There have been studies that have shown that prolonged strength training can help prevent the loss of bone mass and, in some cases, has even helped to increase bone mass. Not only can the strength training help prevent fractures by increasing bone mass, it can help with balance and flexibility which will prevent the falls to begin with.
Inactive adults can lose up to 5% of their muscle mass per decade beginning in their mid 30’s. We must have activity and weight training to sustain our muscle mass and strength. Along the same line, increased muscle mass will burn more calories than fat and, as we age, decreased activity leads to lower metabolism which leads to the dreaded weight gain. As we age, it is more important than ever to maintain our muscle mass.
The benefits of weight/strength training go on and on. Beyond what we’ve already discussed, weight training can help reduce resting blood-pressure, lower the risk of heart disease, improve glucose levels, improve the quality of sleep, reduce pain caused by osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis and even enhance our personal appearance. Let’s be realistic, we all like to look good!
If you are heading toward those “golden years,” find yourself a financial planner AND a personal trainer to make sure you are both fiscally and physically sound to enjoy what could be the best years of your life!