When 82-year-old Willie Murphy encountered an intruder in her Rochester, New York, home, she sprang into action, pummeling him with a broom until he hightailed it through the front door. Murphy became a poster woman for seniors who strength train, a factor that enables them to live independently longer and is a strong component of good health.
Experts say we lose muscle mass starting at the age of 30 at the rate of about 10% per decade until we reach the age of 50, at which point the rate accelerates to 15% per decade, according to research conducted in Germany.
By the time we reach the age of 80, the loss of muscle mass can be severe and debilitating.
“When we talk about bone health and falls, we talk about three factors: fall, fragility, and force,” says Matt Sedgley, a sports medicine physician with MedStar Orthopaedic Institute. “Participating in weight-bearing and resistance-training exercises helps develop muscle mass. So, if you fall you have stronger bone density and cushioning.”
Experts say that using only five-pound weights and doing a few bicep curls just doesn’t cut it when it comes to maintaining strength. You need to maximize muscles to catch yourself from falling or to get yourself off the floor, as well as performing everyday tasks such as carrying home groceries or moving furniture.
That’s where the latest fitness trend comes in handy. It’s called F45, which stands for “functional” and “45” minutes. The movements are meant to mimic everyday activities such as getting in and out of chairs, lifting objects, strengthening back muscles, and safely reaching overhead. And the workout is completed in a mere 45 minutes.
While ripped actor Mark Wahlberg, 48, is a poster boy for the benefits of F45 — he even became a franchise owner — the program benefits all ages.
Elaine Lalanne, the widow of the late and legendary strongman Jack Lalanne, strength trains in her 90s and completed an F45 fitness session in Wahlberg’s Encino studio.
“It was very doable,” she tells Newsmax. “You only have to stay at each station for 30 seconds before moving on to the next. At 93 I came out unscathed!”
Lalanne maintains her independence at home, walking her dogs and traveling around the country to promote her latest book, “If You Want to Live—Move.”
“Jack was adamant about the benefits of daily exercise,” she says. “He used to say, ‘plan for it and do it.’ With the F45 workout all the planning is done for you so you just have to get out there and do it!”
It’s always advisable to check with your healthcare professional before starting any exercise program, but once you get clearance, it’s never too late to start a program of resistance training — but start simple, say experts.
“We always have qualified trainers on hand to make sure that you are performing the exercise correctly. It’s like having personal training without the expense,” Cesar Orejarena, owner and manager of the F45 studio in Boca Raton, Florida, tells Newsmax. “We have husbands and wives, mothers and daughters, folks of all ages come and have fun. And they always leave with a smile.”
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