I'm in my 50s and I've spent over 20 years in the health and fitness industry as a personal trainer so, I believe I'm qualified to say this "If you are over 50 and you neglect to make strength training the major emphasis of your fitness program you're making a big mistake".
Building and maintaining muscle is key in staying health and fit as you age and strength training is the most effective means for accomplishing this. Beginning as early as your 30s, if you are inactive you begin to lose muscle mass as a natural process of aging called sarcopenia. You can lose as much as a pound to a pound and a half of muscle each year beginning in your 40s, and this process accelerates with age if left unabated.
Losing muscle is detrimental to your long term health and fitness in two ways. One, your metabolism decreases as you lose muscle causing your body to store more fat and consequently increasing your risk of obesity and associated metabolic syndrome. Two, you lose strength along with muscle loss which leads to an increased risk of falls, broken bones, and a loss of independence.
Building and maintaining your muscle helps to:
- Strengthen and improve your bone density
- Decrease your risk for developing type 2 diabetes
- Improve your balance thus, reducing your risk of falls
- Strengthen your joints thus, reducing the pain of arthritis
- Lose weight more easily
- Improve your mood
- Improve your self-image
- Improve your sleep
- Perform your everyday activities more easily