Functional Strengthening and Physical Fitness

You don’t have a chronic condition or injury but you feel less fit, strong, lean, and perhaps less healthy than you did 5, 10, 20, … years ago. That’s fine, life’s priorities change and you have less time to dedicate to recreational physical activities.

Unfortunately, from the age of about 30, physically inactive people can lose as much as 3% to 5% of their muscle mass each decade, and even if you are active, you’ll still suffer some muscle loss. The loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength as a result of ageing is known as sarcopenia.

Symptoms of sarcopenia include weakness and loss of stamina, which can interfere with physical activity. Reduced activity further reduces muscle mass. Moreover, age-related muscle loss is often paralleled with increases in intermuscular adipose tissue and overall fat mass (i.e. “sarcopenic obesity”), inflammation, metabolic syndrome, arterial stiffness, and glucose intolerance.

The primary treatment for sarcopenia is exercise, specifically resistance training or strength training. A recent meta-analysis published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise reviewed 49 studies of men and women, ages 50 to 83, who engaged in a moderate intensity, progressive resistance training program, 2-3 times a week, and found that subjects averaged a 1.1 kg increase in lean body mass over 20 weeks.