April 19, 2023

Physical Strength Loss

We all know physical strength loss is a common age-related change that occurs in many older people. But it can also occur in others for many reasons, such as chronic illness, injury, a sedentary lifestyle, or even poor nutrition. Additionally, the loss of strength can significantly impact a person’s ability to perform activities of daily living, such as climbing stairs, carrying groceries, or getting up from a chair.

Several factors contribute to physical strength loss in older people and those who are sedentary. One of the main factors is a decline in muscle mass, also known as sarcopenia. As we age, our muscle mass decreases, and the remaining muscle tissue becomes less efficient at generating force. This decrease leads to a loss of strength and power in the muscles, making it more difficult to perform everyday tasks.

Bone density also contributes to physical strength. As bone density decreases, bones become weaker and more prone to fractures and injury, further limiting an individual’s ability to move and perform physical activities. When overall physical activity decreases, physical strength is difficult to maintain and can be lost. Health conditions, mobility issues, or simply a decrease in motivation can contribute to diminishing strength.

In general, muscle atrophy begins to occur as soon as 24-48 hours after a period of inactivity. This happens, for example, if you are bedridden or immobilized due to an injury or illness. During this time, when the muscles are not being used, they begin to break down and become weaker.

Fortunately, several strategies can help you maintain physical strength and prevent or slow down the process of physical strength loss. These include:

Regular Excercise

Proper Nutrition

Fall Prevention

Physical Therapy

1. Regular Exercise

Engaging in regular exercise, particularly strength training exercises, help build and maintain muscle mass and bone density.

2. Proper Nutrition

A diet rich in proteins and other nutrients supports muscle health and can also help prevent physical strength loss.

3. Fall Prevention Strategies

Taking steps to prevent falls, such as removing tripping hazards from your home, like throw rugs, wearing appropriate footwear, and using assistive devices like canes, walkers, or even furniture, help prevent injuries that can further limit physical strength.

4. Physical Therapy

Working with a physical therapist is an excellent step to improving strength. A Physical Therapist is well equipped to develop an exercise program tailored to your specific needs and goals to help prevent or treat physical strength loss.

Balance is also a critical element in maintaining physical strength and remaining active. When you perform strength training exercises to improve balance, you challenge your muscles and bones to work harder for strength, stability, and endurance.

Some key muscle groups that maintain balance include the core, hip, and leg muscles. These muscles work together to help you maintain an upright posture, transfer weight, and stabilize your body during movement.

Exercises like squats, lunges, and deadlifts target the leg muscles and strengthen the lower body, while exercises like planks, crunches, and bicycle kicks target the core muscles and help improve overall stability and balance. When you engage in strength training exercises that target these muscle groups, you strengthen and improve your ability to support your body weight, maintain balance and equilibrium, and add strength. A note of caution, listen to your body, take it slow, and increase the intensity of your workouts slowly.

Overall, incorporating regular exercise, proper nutrition, and professional input into your lifestyle is an effective way to improve, maintain, or build muscle strength, so you recover stronger, lose less muscle mass, and remain active and able longer