Why staying strong can be your ticket to long term healthy living -

Why staying strong can be your ticket to long term healthy living -

the secret to keeping midlife muscles strong

Have you ever struggled with carrying the shopping to the car or stowing your hand luggage in an overhead locker? wondered why everyday tasks like getting out of a low chair or going up a flight of stairs just seem to get harder? If you have, the chances are mid-life has taken its toll on your body, particularly your muscles! Age-related muscle loss is called sarcopenia and is a natural part of aging, but there are things we can do the prevent it!

After the age of 30, you begin to lose approximately 3–8% per decade with most men losing about 30% of their muscle mass during their lifetime. Concerningly, the rate of decline is even higher after the age of 60! [1]

A loss of functional strength has been linked to many disabilities and health conditions. It reduces bone density, increases joint stiffness and impairs your posture by increasing your likelihood to slouch. Decreased strength also makes you more likely to fall or get injured.

The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t exactly helped, either. In fact, over a third of over 55’s during the pandemic have seen their strength decline, while a further 37% are doing less exercise than before (2). This is concerning, as strength training at any age can help reduce the chances of many of these conditions. In fact, research has now shown that resistance exercise can also protect against Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative conditions [3]. Even more reason to pick those weights up!

Now, many women have concerns about using weights due to an unhelpful and factually incorrect narrative that using weights will instantly turn you into Arnold Schwarzenegger. For most women, this is simply not the case. Strength training, particularly as we age, simply preserves strength and helps to reduce muscle loss. The stereotypical pictures of body building have made many people simply avoid picking up weights for fear of looking like the next Mr Universe.

The good news?

Strength training doesn’t need to be complex or difficult. You simply need to know which exercises to do and how, how to progress them on and when to rest.

Lower legs: The muscles around your hips/ buttock and thighs are your largest lower leg muscles and are important for walking and stair climbing.

Back Strength: the erector spinae (the long muscle in your back) is key to keep strong to help your posture!

Upper body: Lifting above your head strengthens both arms and shoulders and is key to overall upper body strength.

Here are 4 exercises anyone can do to get stronger in their legs, back, and arms.

A quick note before you get started:

When working on strength, it is important that you keep the number of repetitions between 3-12 (any more you are working on muscle endurance). If you feel you can do more than 12, you need to increase the weight otherwise you are not progressively loading the muscles hard enough to get the muscle strong enough.

Rest: the days when you are not exercising are when the muscles manage to develop and get stronger. Leave 2-3 days between days to allow this to happen and ensure you drink enough water, eat well to nourish the tissues, and get enough sleep.

The saying ‘Use it or lose it has never been so true when it comes to muscle strength. Simply staying strong can be your key to long-term healthy living!

Beginners: Sit to Stand

Technique: Arms forwards, tuck the feet underneath you, with even pressure through your feet, stand tall.

Repeat 10-12 x

2 sets / 2 min rest between sets

Beginners Step Ups

Technique: Either using the bottom end of your steps at home or a steady step box, step up with the whole foot on the surface. Alternate the legs and focus on putting your eight onto each leg, pushing up and standing tall at the end of the movement.

Repeat 8-10 Times

2-3 sets / 1 min rest between sets


*Deadlifts *

Technique:Grip the weighted bar wider than width distance. Leading with your bottom and keeping your back straight, bend at the hips and slightly at the knees to lower the weight down the front of the legs. Keep your head and chest up as much as possible. At the bottom, push through your heels and stand tall again.

Repeat 6-10 times

2-4 sets / 1 min rest between sets



Lying on your front, lift the top truck off the floor. Gently lower back down again.
To make it easy, keep your feet on the ground. To make it harder, lift both arms and legs.

Repeat 10-12 times

2 sets / 2 min rest between sets

Please consult a professional if you have doubts about your ability to manage any of the exercises or movements. Please be mindful about reading the descriptions and techniques of the exercise and ensure you do not exert your set through pain or discomfort.

1 [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2804956/]1 2 [htps://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/2020/10/22/sport-england-survey-shows-three-million-fewer-people-active/]2 3[https://www.sydney.edu.au/news-opinion/news/2020/02/11/strength-training-can-help-protect-the-brain-from-degeneration.html]3