The importance of staying strong cannot be overstated as we age. If we are inactive, we could lose as much as 3-5% of our muscle mass with each year we get older. A body that is weak will experience more pain, disability, brain decline, and unhappiness. The majority of us will experience a health span in life and a disease span. Our health span is when we are healthy, high functioning, strong, independent, and have minimal physical and mental disorders. Our disease span is when we have illness that affects our everyday life, disabilities, physical limitations, and cannot function like we used to. The health span can last for decades and we can live high functioning, healthy, and happy for many years. The disease span can do the same. What matters is how we treat ourselves. And when I say treat I do not mean sweet snacks that we deserve because we worked hard today. Treat yourself well means just that. Good exercise (strength training and aerobic), managing food and drink with boundaries, and minimizing stress are key components to treating yourself well. And when stress occurs, handle it with your health in mind. If we struggle in any of these areas, our health is at risk and the disease span is sooner. One of the biggest areas where I see people struggle is staying physically strong. While walking is important and should be done, keeping the rest of your muscles strong is just as significant. Research continues to show the benefits of strength training for people over 50. It helps prevent brain and body decline, improves liver, stomach, heart, kidney, and joint function. Weight training helps improve arthritic pain, spine and lower back strength, and mood. In a few words, doing what you need to stay strong will keep your health span long and disease span short. If you are over 50 and do not currently weight train, please start as soon as possible. If you do not know where or how to start, consult or hire someone that specializes in over 50 strength training. Keep your health span long and your life happy.
HEALTH SPAN AND DISEASE SPAN IN LIFE: THE IMPORTANCE OF STAYING STRONG