A Year for STRENGTH!

As we all know, 2020 was an epic year for stress. Even if your life was peachy keen before the pandemic, chances are you have experienced your share of crap in the past 9 months. Here in Florida, we have had fewer restrictions and more normality than many other areas of the world, but we have still lost out on all kinds of experiences that we might normally enjoy. 

As a fitness instructor, one of the somewhat surprising losses for me in 2020 has been a loss of physical strength. At the end of 2019, I moved from Maryland to Florida. I went from teaching weekly classes in yoga, Zumba, Pilates, and bootcamp to no teaching at all. I went from living in a 3-story home to single-story living. I went from daily hikes in local parks to daily walks on the beach. Although I soon joined the YMCA and returned to Zumba and Pilates classes, I quickly lost strength in the major muscle groups. 

Loss of physical strength and muscle mass is extremely common for people over 50. Many of us probably consider this inevitable, simply a side effect of the aging process. But there is no inherent reason for this drop off in strength. The only reason people lose strength and muscle as they age is a LACK OF USE.

If you look at older adults who regularly lift heavy weights or participate in strength-training programs like Crossfit, you will see that people of any age can build muscle and get stronger. In fact, studies have been done with men over the age of 90 showing that muscle can still be gained by lifting weights. We NEVER lose the ability to build muscle and increase strength.

Why get stronger?

There are SO many reasons!!!

Strength means better balance and less risk of falling. Strengthening muscles also works to strengthen bones--just the act of lifting weights builds BOTH muscle AND bone strength. The more muscle mass you carry on your body means the more calories you burn, not just when you're exercising but ALL THE TIME. You burn more calories even when you're sleeping! Muscle tissue is 37.5 times more metabolically active than fat tissue. Building more muscle will help you lose weight, feel better, look better, fit into your clothes better, and LIVE LONGER.

How am I going to build back up to the level of strength I had in 2019?

I need to add back the activities I used to do. I need to find some stairs to run up. I need to find some benches for box jumps. I need to lift some heavy weights. I need to swing a kettlebell. I need to get back to doing pull-ups. 

Aerobic dance classes like Zumba are so much fun and Pilates is great for the core, but there is no replacement for lifting heavy weights. I need to make like a sneaker and JUST DO IT!

What is your theme for 2021? Where are you headed this year? Let me know!