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Here’s some good news for everyone who’s getting older. Yeah, that’s you. If you’re over 30. All you need is frequent exercise – if you want to maintain muscle strength and mass. At any age.

October 30, 2017. The Statistics: most of us start to lose muscle mass and strength in our 30s. Between the ages of 40 and 50, we lose about 8% of it. Even more between 50 and 60. 15% per decade by the time we hit 75. Let’s do the math: if you make it to 75, you’re aging your way down to half-strength. When a 10-pound bag of groceries feels like 20 pounds.

The Good News: “These declines may have more to do with lifestyle choices, including sedentary living and poor nutrition, than the absolute potential of musculoskeletal aging. This study … shows that we are capable of preserving both muscle mass and strength with lifelong physical activity.” The study, “Chronic Exercise Preserves Lean Muscle Mass in Masters Athletes”, was published in The Physician and Sports Medicine.

So today’s Way comes with a simple, seasonal one-minute Way to increase your biceps strength..

Of course, you can do a version of this with one big pumpkin. And you can do this with any two things that weigh the same. After I make his pan-fried pumpkin with tomato sauce, I’ll use Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything and How To Cook Everything Vegetarian. Five pounds and 2,000 recipes in each hand. Press Play and see.

Pumpkin Curls
But back to our seasonal and local exercise. Stand with your feet hip width apart. Arms straight down at your sides – a pumpkin in each hand. Keep your elbows in against your sides and raise your pumpkins to your shoulders. Feel your biceps asking, trick or treat?

Do ten of these. Then ten more. Then sit down and carve them. Great exercise for your hands and wrists.

Have a Happy Halloween.

Why Get Stronger? Now?
According to the CDC (U. S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention), “Research has shown that strengthening exercises are both safe and effective for women and men of all ages, including those who are not in perfect health. In fact, people with health concerns – including heart disease or arthritis – often benefit the most from an exercise program that includes lifting weights a few times each week … As you grow older, it can be very powerful in reducing the signs and symptoms of arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, back pain, depression.

For bone strength and balance, strength training for just two days a week produced “1% gains in hip and spine bone density, 75% increases in strength and 13% increases in dynamic balance … [for] reducing risk for falls, which translates to fewer fractures”.

For burning calories, muscle is better than fat. Three to five times better. People who began and completed a 16-week strength training program at Tufts University increased their resting metabolic (calorie-burning) rate by 15%. That’s an additional 200 – 300 calories burned every day while you’re doing … nothing. Of course, you’ll burn additional calories while you’re doing your strength exercises.

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