Pinnacle - Jupiter Medical Center

Fall 2018

Pinnacle is the official magazine of Jupiter Medical Center which provides world class health care in Palm Beach County

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26 | PINNACLE | | PINNACLE | PULSE FITNESS By Liz Petoniak Going Strong Discover the benefits of strength training in your fifties and beyond When it comes to physical fit- ness, the mantra "use it or lose it" rings true. As we age, being inac- tive can result in a loss of three to five percent of muscle mass every decade (it's called sarcopenia). Making matters worse, balance and bone density also begin to decline. "Our body reacts to the environment it's in," says Suzanne Ambrose, physical therapist at Frenchman's Reserve Country Club, one of Jupiter Medical Center's off-site clinics associated with the Cary Grossman Health and Wellness Center. "When you're resting, the body lays down more cells that simulate what it's being asked to do [i.e., nothing]." While cardio has its own benefits, Am- brose explains that strength train- ing is important as we age because muscles and bones need to be challenged in order to uphold their structure. How it can help you Maintaining muscle mass safeguards the body against broken bones, osteoporosis, spinal stenosis, sciatica, and impaired mobility. "Muscle is a stabilizer as well as a mover," says Ambrose. Muscles help us get out of bed in the morning, carry groceries in from the car, and support our spine to stand up straight. "If your muscles are straining, and you're not quite strong enough, then you compensate through the joints," she continues. "[For example], you might start using your back instead of your arms and legs." The joints then respond by reinforcing themselves with bone spurs and by thickening ligaments. Over time, the smooth mechanics of the joints are interrupted, and nerves grow irritated. When muscles are strong, the bones and joints have to endure a lot less force. Why start now It's never too late to begin strength training, and you're never too old to reap its benefits—even if you're already experiencing condi- tions like osteopenia or arthritis. Studies have shown that weight- bearing exercises can actually increase bone density and build muscle in adults who are well into their eighties. Additional perks of strength training include better quality of sleep, stress relief, and a boost in metabolism because an increase in muscle mass increases the number of calories the body burns. "You'll look slimmer, and your clothes will fit better," says Ambrose, debunking the common misconception many women have that strength training causes bulk. What you should do As a general rule, Ambrose rec- ommends exercising three to four times a week for 30 to 50 min- utes, focusing on loaded weights (weight should be heavy enough to max out at 8 to 12 repetitions with good form and without pain) and anaerobic training—short bursts of energy that elevate the heart rate. "Anaerobic training really stimulates muscles, challenges your systems more, and makes them more resil- ient," she says. New research shows that if you're doing steady-paced

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