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Why Strength Training Slows Down The Aging Process

By Susannah Marchese

Studies show that strength training is a good idea when we are young and itís a better idea as we age. Pilates can supply strength training exercises, balance and flexibility. All are important age defying benefits.

As we age, we lose 3-5% of our lean muscle mass for every decade after the age of 25. That information alone is enough to get you started with strength training! Itís not impossible to continue gaining strength as we age. We just need to work at it. And the need to keep our muscle mass is important.

Under a microscope, the muscle fiber of a twenty year old looks like that of a seventy year old. Studies have proven that we can start a strength training routine later in life, even if we havenít ever had one before, and see results. That gives the phrase ďitís never too lateĒ new meaning. Start building muscle now to avoid frailty later.

Muscle mass isnít the only loss age delivers. Loss of balance, flexibility, and stamina also wane. Pilates is available to all ages and any level of fitness and can help to restore the losses of age with gentle exercises that are easy on the joints.

I am reminded of a client from my days in a New York Pilates studio.

Elsa was age 92. She was petite, loved to ice skate, and even rode the stationary bike after our sessions. We had a regular strength training routine and stretching exercises that we did every week when she came for her Pilates session. She managed to keep fit, healthy, and active well into her eighties and nineties.

My 96 year old grandfather lived at home in good health to the very end. He never thought about his age nor did he act it. Life never got him down and he certainly kept active all his life.

These two remarkable people have something in common that I believe is the key. An active lifestyle, a social network, and a sunny disposition can certainly help in adding years and joy to your life. Add a little luck from the gene pool and there you are. Strength training is an important piece to any healthy lifestyle, and itís never too late to reap the benefits of regular exercise.

Susannah Marchese is a certified Pilates instructor and a frequent contributor to the popular and informative web site everything-about-pilates.com

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