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There are the alarming numbers about fall rates, like how 70% of older adults aged 70+ will die as a result of a fall, or how the United States is projected to have 7 deaths from falling per hour in 2030. There are the cognitive declines, hormonal drops, and psychological problems. Tack on the exponentially increased risks of suffering from heart disease, cancer, dementia, and a myriad of other issues, and it’s almost as if there’s a ticking time bomb waiting to prey on anyone who enters a new decade after 40.
Granted, the topics of fall prevention, cognitive health, and chronic sickness aren’t at the top of most gym-goers’ priority list, but what about the “normal” physical declines – like muscle atrophy, strength loss, fat gain, and joint pain (among others) – that are allegedly bound to occur?
Most studies seem to suggest that strength and muscle mass can begin to dip as early as age 30 – between 3-8% per decade – before spiraling further downward once an individual hits 50, at which point the losses may exceed 40% and 15% (respectively) every decade thereafter. At that pace, a 30-year old male with 180 pounds of lean muscle may lose up to 30 pounds of muscle mass before reaching age 50, followed by an additional 50 pound drop between the ages of 50-70 (with 2-3x greater losses in strength, no less).
As outrageous as that sounds, those numbers aren’t far off the norm; some studies have found that many individuals may lose as much as 50% of their muscle mass and up to 90% of their strength between the ages of 35-75
How does one prevent this? Lets follow the fundamentals.
!Train all six foundational movement patterns!
By and large, training is as simple as executing the six foundational movement patterns that humans are designed to perform: squat, hinge, lunge, push, pull, and carry. Doing so won’t only yield the most dramatic results for strength, performance, and muscle gains; it’ll also maximize long-term orthopedic health and wellness.
!Don't forget mobility!
As it relates to aging, inadequate mobility can substantially hinder daily functioning and lead to joint stiffness, pain, inactivity, and ultimately, a worsened quality of life. Think about it: the most basic daily acts like reaching overhead, sitting, standing, and bending over require, at least to some degree, adequate mobility. Worse yet, a loss of mobility creates a debilitating domino effect as it makes it more difficult to train effectively, which accelerates the decline of nearly every other physical quality.