The importance of maintaining muscle strength over 40- Part 1 Legs

As you age muscle mass deteriorates if you do not take steps to reverse this.  In fact muscle mass declines by up to 1% per year after age 40 and accelerates after 60 or if you have a sedentary lifestyle.  This leads to loss of strength and eventually reduced mobility. 
When you exercise muscles, those muscles pull on bone which helps strengthen your bones - something which is of great interest to me as I have a degree of osteoporosis caused by illness in my thirties.

Also muscles burn calories, so as your muscle mass declines your metabolism lowers so that you may put on weight.

So do not delay - take steps to reverse muscle loss.  Below are some of the steps that I have taken to increase muscle strength.  

I power walk!  This is as beneficial as running but it also gives you chance to enjoy the scenery (especially in my case, the birds!) and so is more mindful.  

Top tips - it is good to power walk with an exercise buddy (in my case, my daughter) - you do not notice then just how hard you are working and exercise becomes a social activity.  

Swing your arms which increases the aerobic benefits of power walking.

Walk with wrist and/or ankle weights - this is especially beneficial if you are petite.

I have recently started using a resistance band.  In the following moves I have double looped my band but you can get mini-bands (Safety note - make sure that your resistance band is in good condition. If it breaks you may fall. Remove the resistance band before changing position to avoid falls. Always check with your doctor before starting a new programme of exercise). 

Lie with your knees bent and place the band around your thighs.  Bring your shins level with the ceiling.  Breathe out, take your knees wide, breathe in release and continue.  After several repetitions remove the band and come to all 4s, placing the band around your ankles.  



Breathe in tuck your toes, breathe out and lift your hips.  Inhale lift your right leg, exhale bend your right knee and round your back bringing your knee towards your right arm. 
Breathe in take your right leg back, breathe out release your foot back to the mat. Repeat second side.  Breathe in drop your knees to the mat.  Remove the band, take your bottom back to your heels and extend your arms forward to rest (place your head on a cushion if necessary). When you are ready come up to standing and place the band around your ankles. 


From standing with the band taut, inhale lift your right leg forward and up, exhale release. Repeat lifting your leg out to the side then back and up.  




On the yoga blog, flexiladiesyoga are some more leg strengthening yoga poses which you might want to practice- 'Yoga for muscle strength-Part 1 Legs'-http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/yoga-for-muscle-strength-part-1-legs.html

Stay strong, stay young 
Janet x 


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