A recent study commented on physical activity and leg strength as independent predictors of mobility loss in older persons. It showed that physical activity was one of the factors regarding loss of mobility.
Leg strength also plays a factor in this matter. Meaning, that general physical activity will help maintain your mobility and you need to keep the muscles of your legs strong. Walking and/or joint mobility training will fulfill your general exercise requirement. It’s as simple as move it or lose it. To keep your mobility as you age, don’t stop moving. Don’t spend all your retirement sitting down. Get up and stay active. Every little bit adds up at the end of your week. Leg strength – if you don’t want to go to the gym, you can still do basic bodyweight exercises to keep your strength up. Lunges, step-ups, bodyweight squats and bridges will work fine. Most of my personal training clients get great results with these exercises with dumbbells or just your own weight. Frequently as you age, your fast twitch muscle fibers lose size and strength. Your bone mass can also decrease without some form of resistance exercise.
So strength training is important to keep your mobility, but also to prevent osteoporosis. With a loss of these fast twitch muscle fibers, the risk of falling can increase. Lack of muscle strength will likely also result in weaker bones, as your bones’ strength has a lot to do with adequate resistance exercise. A 2000 study at the University of Buffalo suggests that regular exercise could postpone frailty and help aging muscles retain their flexibility and protect them from exercise. According to assistant professor Luc Gosselin, “we can postpone frailty by getting seniors involved in exercise programs. If seniors stay active, they are less susceptible to injury than if they are sedentary.” Aging is associated with a reduced work capacity, loss of muscle mass, increase in connective tissue and muscle stiffness, and increased healing time after injury. According to the Principle of Specificity, with adequate exercise, strength and mobility work, we can keep from losing these muscle qualities. Another study has shown that resistance training can actually rejuvenate muscle tissue in seniors and slow the aging process. This study showed a reversal in cellular decline, associated with aging. So strength training and joint mobility work may indeed be the fountain of youth.