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Does staying stronger help you live longer? It’s a question researchers have been exploring. Until recent years, body mass index (BMI) was a measurement physicians often used to determine health. But we now know BMI isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Simply put, body mass index measures your weight in relation to your height. It doesn’t, however, separate fat from muscle. So an athletic person who has significant muscle mass could earn an unhealthy BMI score despite being very fit.
Research shows how important strong muscles are in aging well. Weight training a few days a week to build or preserve muscle mass can help seniors maintain core strength and balance. Both are critical in preventing falls, a leading cause of disability and even death among older adults.
Finally, research published in the American Journal of Medicine shared the results of a study conducted at UCLA. Scientists there say that building muscle mass can also help older adults reduce their metabolic risk, a contributor to heart disease. Their work showed that the greater a senior’s muscle mass, the longer their life expectancy.
What can you and your senior loved ones do pump up your muscle mass?
It’s not really as complicated as you might think.
Tips for Seniors and Caregivers to Build Muscle Mass
The clinical term for the loss of muscle mass is sarcopenia. Health professionals suggest thinking of it as osteoporosis of the muscles. And it starts much earlier than you might expect.
Experts say sarcopenia begins impacting adults as early as their thirties. But there are steps you can take to prevent this decline:
Senior-Friendly Fitness Resources
While joining a fitness club like your local YMCA can offer great social benefits, not everyone is comfortable working out in a public environment. You and your senior loved one might find resources on these two sites helpful for creating your own fitness routine.
Health & Wellness at Sunrise
At Sunrise Senior Living, we know how important it is for older adults to stay active and engaged with life. One of our 8 Signature Programs is Live With Action, which incorporates tips from our partner, the NIA, to help our residents stay physically active.
We share what we’ve learned about aging well in our Elder Care Resources and Information Center. Visit it to find information on exercise, nutrition, heart health and more!