Why Functional Strength Is So Important As We Age


P1140071So maybe you are considering a summer workout, but just not motivated enough to get started and make a commitment.  Or maybe you used to workout, but with summer here it all seems to much to fit in. Or you are that person who is making the effort to exercise and sometimes ask yourself why???  Here is what you need to know. 

I know I have talked about the benefits of strength training before, but today I want to give you the hard facts and the sad truth of what happens if you don’t get started and make exercise a priority in your life now.  And just one more good reason to keep it up!

Most people are not aware that as we age, we start to lose muscle mass at about 5% per decade after age 30. It happens quickly because that number jumps to about 10% per decade after 50, AND about 25% each year after 70 years old.

To make matters worse, muscle strength also declines by 12 to 15 percent per decade. These drops are much more dramatic, however, among people who eat less healthfully, don’t exercise regularly and even those who lose a significant amount of weight (since muscle tends to vanish along with the fat).

CLICK HERE for a short article from Fitness Over Fifty that goes into a little more detail on why this is happening and why it is not too late to start.

Why are we losing muscle mass and muscular strength?  Primarily inactivity, specifically speaking, functional strength training.

It used to be thought that it was enough to get your heart rate elevated, but that is no longer the case. With strength training comes a whole list of benefits that cardio only cannot offer us as we age.


Functional Strength is the ability to lift, carry, push, pull, bend, twist or even reach for an object without getting injured. It is training the body in a specific manner to be able to do those daily tasks without injury, physical therapy, or having to have someone else do it for you. It is about having a strong upper body, core, and lower body, and eating to keep it strong.

You probably know of someone or have experienced yourself the misery of injuring yourself while doing a simple task.  Like getting something out of the car? Picking up a grandchild, or even hurting your shoulder or neck reaching for something or gardening? How about golfing?

Just because you are aging, does not mean you have to get weaker, or end up injured. HOWEVER, if you are not involved in an active strength training program, guess what? You ARE getting weaker.

People always ask which is better?   Machines or free weights?  Pilates or Yoga?  Boot camp or Body Sculpt Class?

The answer is simple.

The one that uses the most muscles at the same time, and engages your core while mimicking everyday moves or activities we like to enjoy.

Sitting on a chair or a machine in a gym, does not engage your core.

So, who needs functional strength?           

Everyone that wants to be able to enjoy the future and be able to take care of themselves.  Everyone that wants to not have to worry about a fall or a broken hip. Everyone who wants to maintain a healthy weight and look and feel their best.

Since none of us are getting any younger, take a look at your current level of physical fitness and put a plan into action.  It is never too late to get started!  Investing in your health is one of the most important moves you can make.

Dr. Mark Hyman says it well, “Live well now, savor the moment, live a long life active life achieving your dreams, and most importantly – have your choices and actions align with your DREAMS!”

It’s that simple.                                  

Need help getting started?                     

Here are the fitness classes being offered which will engage your core and improve your functional fitness.

And if you are someone who prefers the convenience of working out in your own home, a few personal training sessions to design and teach you  a personal program can set you on the right path to getting stronger and feeling fit.


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