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What’s The Real Fountain of Youth?

Hot take: forget botox and filler. Strength training is the real fountain of youth. But many people are hesitant to begin strength training if they’ve never done it before, believing the internet trolls who say…

  • “Strength training isn’t safe.”

  • “Lifting weights is dangerous, it's not worth it.” 

  • “At my age, I can’t get stronger or build muscle mass, so what’s the point?”


At Made 2 Move, we’re here to dispel myths like these and make strength training accessible to everyone from our 12 year old soccer stars to our 85 year old golf enthusiast. Strength training can and should be done by everybody, especially as we get older, but why? Let’s find out! 



What happens to muscle as we get older? 

Between the ages of 50-70, muscle mass decreases by roughly 8% per year (Lee et al., 2018). Now this statistic isn’t meant to be all debbie downer or scary, but it is important to be aware of this, and incorporate actionable methods (like strength training) into our lives  to combat this decrease.

 

So it’s clear that as we age, our muscles change, which leads to a decline in physical health. There is sarcopenia (the decrease in muscle mass) and dynapenia (the decrease in muscle stretch) (Borde et al. 2015).  Power (our ability to produce force QUICKLY) also decreases as we get older. All of these factors can contribute to a subsequent decrease in functional performance (think getting up from the toilet, getting on and off the floor, upping the pace as you cross the street because you crossed when you shouldn’t have). 


What does the research say?

We’ve known for a while that strength training is basically the fountain of youth, but some have said that as we get older, our response to strength training gets smaller (aka, as we get older, we get less gains). 


However, a study was  published this year titled, “Muscle Mass and Strength Gains Following Resistance Exercise Training in Older Adults 65–75 Years and Older Adults Above 85 Years,” and showed  that resistance training DOES improve strength, muscle mass, and physical performance in older adults, ages 65-85+!

 

The 2024  study actually aimed to compare the effects of strength training between adults ages 65-75 and adults older than 85.

 

After just 12 weeks, BOTH groups (65-75 and 85+) showed increases in...

  • Muscle mass (specifically the quads)

  • Strength

  • & improvements in physical function


And here’s the best part: there were no significant differences in improvements between the age groups, meaning that the older adults (ages 85+) saw the SAME improvements as the younger group! 

 

What’s important to note here - this was just a 12 week (3 months) study. Some people may argue that the change seen in this short of a time is simply due to neural adaptations. Others may argue that o the low starting strength of the study participants means there was such a low baseline that improvements were inevitable. And while these are  both valid points, it doesn’t negate the results: muscle mass and strength improve, despite age. 

 

If you can build muscle and improve your quality of life by strength training for just 12 weeks, imagine if you did this for months! Years! For LIFE! Imagine if you started NOW! (because this study shows it’s never too late)


A couple of critical points regarding strength training as we get older:

  • CONSISTENCY IS KEY: Find something you enjoy doing. Strength training is not a quick fix, or something that can be built in a month and ignored for the next 3 months. 

  • KEEP THE INTENSITY HIGH- ie. what you’re doing for strength training needs to be sufficiently hard + challenging + build over time, in order =  true adaptations. 

  • TRAIN POWER:  The powerful quality of muscle tends to decline faster than its strength. The “powerful” muscle fibers are what catch us when we slip, trip, or fall (No thank you, hip fracture). . So yes, move weights in the gym, but also MOVE WEIGHT (and your body) FAST!


Here's What This Means For You…

At Made 2 Move, we’re all about flipping the script. You can (and should) strength train at any age, and we can’t wait to help you get started.


Being older (65-80+) doesn’t mean that you can’t get stronger, fitter, and gain muscle mass! 

 

At Made 2 Move, we tend to think of time in the gym as “quality of life insurance.” Working out, lifting weights, and staying active NOW will ensure that we can enjoy life LATER. 

 

We don’t want our health to be the reason we can’t fully enjoy life. We want to be able to say YES to things as we age, and we know so many of you feel the same way. 

 

So, if you needed some extra motivation OR if you’re looking for something that helps you…  

  • Maintain AND increase muscle mass

  • Be independent and functional as you age

  • Stand up from the toilet by yourself 

  • Improve your quality of life….

 

Then, STRENGTH TRAINING IS YOUR ANSWER. Interested in working with a PT who will incorporate sufficient intensity into your PT to help you make progress towards your goals? Reach out to frontdesk@made2movept.com today to set up a consultation with one of our therapists!

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