When your body is strong, you can live well.
When your mind is strong, you can live well.
When your heart is strong, you can live well.
Body- Mind- Heart.
Use it or you’ll lose it.
If you asked 100 people if they’d prefer to exercise or sit on the comfy couch, how many would say: “well that’s easy, sit on the couch of course.”
Nowadays we sit more and move less, progress has given us that apparent luxury.
But we’re all paying a very heavy price for this.
Some doctors call “sitting the new smoking.”
-meaning it causes significant health problems.
We are designed to stand upright- so is the process of evolution.
So what are the implications of sitting more?
- Heart and cardiovascular disease, e.g, high blood pressure, heart attack and strokes,
- Diabetes via increased insulin resistance which raises blood sugar levels,
- Digestive issues, including bloating and constipation,
- Stiff neck and shoulders leading to pain and limited mobility,
- More pain, stiffness and soreness associated with arthritis,
- Weight gain due to the storage of fat,
- Shortened hip muscles with associated pain and mobility issues,
- Lower back discomfort and pain,
- Increase in chance of becoming anxious or depressed,
- Link between sitting and the development of some cancers like bowel cancer,
- Development of deep vein thrombosis- a blood clot that forms in the veins of your leg,
- Loss of muscle mass and strength, called sarcopenia due to a lack of muscle fibre stimulation, and
- Increased risk of falls with subsequent fractures, loss of independence and even premature death.
OH MY GOODNESS…….
So, what can you do about this…..
Move more and sit less.
And it’s important to start now, rather than later.
Because the loss of muscle mass and strength- called sarcopenia, and especially a weakening and wasting away of the leg and bottom muscles, worsens as we get older.
From the age of 30, there’s 3-5% loss in muscle mass each decade. It’s suggested that this will affect up to a half of the 1.6 billion older adults who’ll be in the world in 2050.
On a practical level, there are a range of daily activities that become increasingly difficult and impossible with sarcopenia, in particular, the loss in muscle strength.
-Walking up and down stairs
-Moving about with ease and good balance
-Reaching for something in a high place
-Carrying a full basket of washing and other household jobs
-Picking things off the floor
-Opening jars or packaging
-Standing up from a chair
-Getting in and out of the bath/car
-Getting down on and up from the floor
So how can you improve fitness generally and muscle size and strength?
The combination of cardio and strength training exercise seems to be the way to go.
It’s been shown that you can even reverse sarcopenia with strength training or what’s called resistance training.
You can get stronger if you train your muscles regularly.
In fact, I’ve seen many people get stronger than they’ve ever been.
And I’m one of them. I can do things now that I couldn’t do when I was younger, even in my 20s.
Here are the main benefits of strength training:
– builds muscle strength and endurance,
– assists with unhealthy weight gain by increasing muscle mass and decreasing body fat,
– improves white matter in the brain, which leads to better cognitive abilities, including attention, memory,
– improves the health of arteries throughout the body, reducing high blood pressure, reduces levels of atherosclerosis, and cholesterol,
– changes blood chemistry, improving insulin resistance and preventing the onset of diabetes,
– maintain good levels of mobility and independence,
– improves confidence and energy levels,
– is a great way of managing stress, anxiety and depression and sleep problems,
– enhances bone mineral density; preventing and reversing osteoporosis,
– enables better management of chronic pain, including arthritis as it strengthens the joint muscles and associated tissues like tendons and ligaments,
– helps prevent falls significantly by strengthening the muscles, improving balance, and lessens the risk of fractures if you are unfortunate enough to fall,
(30% of adults 65 years and over will experience at least one fall per year. Falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths in Australia with approximately 200,000 falls each year resulting in hospitalisation.)
– prevents increased “wear and tear” on the joints or joint pain, and
– improves overall quality of life!
So…. If you’ve heard yourself say any of the following things……
“I don’t want to get to 85 and not be able to get out of my chair- stranded in a chair”
“I can’t run anymore”
“I can’t move as well as I used to”
“My grandkids get bored with me as I’m not able to get on the floor to play with them”
“Used to be able to garden for hours, now I’m lucky if I can do 1/2 hour without giving up”
“My body feels heavy”
“ Shortening the opportunities that life gives me”
“Can’t play bowls anymore”
“It’s only going to get worse if I don’t do anything”
………..then it’s time to get going and get moving and strengthening. To give yourself the best possible chance of living your life as well as you can… now and into your future.