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STAY FIT TO PREVENT MUSCLE LOSS

Our muscles have to carry on performing the same actions and movements no matter how old we are.
Consequently, strength training is another important factor – alongside the various endurance sports – for maintaining physical fitness. With the right strength levels and sufficient muscle mass, we will find it easier to carry out everyday tasks (such as housework, climbing stairs or doing the shopping). And, of course, we will also find it easier to engage in activities of any kind, such as sport, hiking or mountain climbing.
Muscle mass and strength both decrease significantly over the years. And that is why regular strength training is so important.

Muscle tissue can start deteriorating as early as the age of around 30. The average 30-year-old can expect to lose approx. 25% of their muscle mass and strength by the age of 70. They will then lose another 25% or so by the time they turn 90. The excessive loss of muscle mass and strength that comes with advanced age is also known as sarcopenia.
However, the ageing process and its associated impact on the body are only part of the reason why this happens.
The failure to make (sufficient) use of our muscular system plays a far bigger role than ageing itself.

THAT’S WHY EXERCISE HELPS TO PREVENT MUSCLE LOSS

As muscle strength decreases, it does not merely affect our ability to move but also has an impact on the body in various other ways. Nevertheless, studies have demonstrated that we can compensate for these effects by doing strength training.
Strong muscles are much more efficient at taking oxygen and nutrients from the blood than weak ones are. This means that each activity places less stress on the heart because it does not have to work so hard. Having a solid muscular system helps the body to utilise sugar and keep it sensitive to insulin. In turn, this helps our cells to extract sugar from the blood. Thus, strong muscles help to keep blood sugar levels in check. This goes a long way towards preventing or controlling type 2 diabetes.
A good muscular system is also helpful for controlling and maintaining a healthy weight. If our muscular system is too weak, we are more likely to lose our balance while moving or when we stumble and need to stop ourselves from falling over. Consequently, our muscles are extremely important for fall prevention. What’s more, regular strength training significantly reduces the risk of serious health problems, such as heart conditions, diabetes, hypertension, mood swings and arthritis. Strength training also plays a key role in slowing down bone loss and can even help bones to regenerate. Consequently, it can be used strategically for countering osteoporosis.
  • Strength training for all key muscle groups two or three times a week
  • Once a week is better than nothing at all
  • The ideal combination: a daily dose of LIVADUR® plus strength training three times a week.
  • Leave a gap of 48 hours between each
    training session so that your muscles have a chance to recover
  • No rest period: concentrate on
    training different muscle groups

STRENGTH TRAINING: HOW TO DO IT RIGHT

It is important to use the right technique. This prevents inappropriate weight bearing and increases the effectiveness of training. Important points to note:

  • Position your body correctly
  • Perform slow and fluid movements
Tip: Particularly at the beginning, you may find it helpful to exercise in front of a mirror.
That way, you can keep an eye on your body position and correct it as necessary.
Each training session should start with a 5 to 10 minute warm-up. Another 10 minutes or so should be spent cooling down at the end. The aim of warming up is to pump nutrient-rich blood into the muscles and supply them with oxygen. This is achieved by increasing your heart and breathing rates.

Methods:
  • Walk on the spot while gently swinging your arms
  • Start slowly and gradually speed up
The purpose of the cool-down is to slow your breathing and heartbeat back down so that your blood circulation gradually returns to its normal pattern. This helps to prevent a sudden drop in blood pressure that could cause dizziness.

Methods:
  • Walk slowly on the spot
  • Stretching exercises
Choose exercises that allow you to perform between 8 and 12 repetitions correctly. Do not worry if you find the last 1 or 2 repetitions difficult to highly strenuous. If you exercise regularly, your muscles will gradually adapt.
You can then:
  • Increase the weight
  • Change exercises
  • Increase the number of training sets from 2 to 3

Tip: You should take a break of at least 30 seconds between training sets. deally, you should leave a gap of one minute. This is likely to lead to greater gains in strength because your muscles will not be so fatigued.
The other point is that short breaks also increase your heart rate more.
Stretching helps:
  • To release tension in the neck
  • To alleviate back problems
  • To increase mobility
  • To improve balance
Warm muscles are less susceptible to injury than cold ones.
Therefore, stretching exercises should be carried out as part of your cool-down at the end of the training session.

Tip: Forms of exercise such as yoga, tai chi and pilates combine stretching with relaxation.
These activities help to improve balance, lower blood pressure, relieve stress and increase flexibility.

VARIETY IS A MOTIVATING FACTOR

The body constantly adapts to the challenges that are placed on it.
The same applies in the context of fitness training.
Mixing things up in this way helps you to sustain your motivation and makes for better results:
  • Increase the number of repetitions: aim for up to 12 repetitions per set
  • Add an extra set: complete 3 or even 4 sets of each exercise
  • Add weight
  • Incorporate new exercises
  • Change the order of the exercises
  • Find a training partner or join a sports club
  • Play some music to motivate you
Tip: If you no longer find your normal training regime motivating, try out some new sports.
Ideally, these should be ones that focus on endurance and muscle strength, coordination, flexibility and balance.
Examples include swimming, cycling, mountaineering or cross-country skiing.
Also feel free to try new forms of exercise.
Functional training, core training, yoga, pilates, stand-up paddling or golf are all excellent ways of supplementing your strength training regime and will ensure an active lifestyle.

KEEP ON MOVING

When it comes to changing behaviour of any kind, measurable progress is one of the biggest motivators for success.
You should carefully monitor the positive impact that strength training is having on your health and quality of life.
This will encourage you to keep on doing your exercises regularly.

You will start to see the first signs of success within the first 4 to 8 weeks.
After that, you will continue to make progress, but it will not be quite as fast as before.

Therefore, you should vary your training sequences after 8 to 12 weeks and increase the level of difficulty by introducing an extra set. This will allow you to carry on enjoying yourself while providing the necessary motivation.
Success with your training will then come automatically.

HEALTHY EATING

Healthy eating is the foundation of an active life.

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