Often, the aging process can lead to loss of muscle mass and flexibility.
Between the ages of 30 to 80 years, individuals may lose approximately half of their muscle mass. Muscle degeneration due to aging can make everyday tasks, such as getting out of bed and putting on shoes, more difficult, and over time, may cause total loss of function and independence.
Fortunately, this process can be slowed and/or reversed by staying active. The earlier individuals begin leading active lifestyles and participating regular exercise routines, the better, as exercise not only helps prevent muscle degeneration, it promotes entire well-being.
To maintain muscle mass, individuals should participate in a regular strengthening and weight-bearing exercise routine. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, five times a week. An exercise routine should include a combination of cardiovascular and strengthening exercises.
It is also important to maintain our flexibility as we age. Loss in flexibility can also equate to loss in function. ACSM recommends stretching at least two to three times a week, including the core, upper and lower bodies.
Contrary to popular belief, it is never too late to start exercising, strengthening the muscles and increasing flexibility.
Before beginning a regular exercise routine, it is always important to be assessed by a medical professional to ensure safety and benefit. The exceptional team of physical therapists and related healthcare providers at Cone Health Outpatient Rehabilitation Centers are dedicated to educating individuals in the community about the importance of exercising and preventing age-related muscle loss, as well as helping patients regain muscle mass, flexibility and function.
Michael Albright is a licensed physical therapist practicing at Cone Health Outpatient Rehabilitation Centers at Adams Farm and MedCenter High Point. Michael received a Bachelor of Science in physical therapy at the University of Oklahoma in 1994. He is also a certified strength and conditioning specialist.