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Get Stronger to Stay Independent Longer

from By Teresa Merrick, Ph.D.

When Dr. Walter Bortz II, eminent geriatric expert and author of “Dare to Be 100”, first appeared at ACSM’s Health and Fitness Summit in 2002, he said something that galvanized my thinking: The biggest predictor of whether you’ll end up in a nursing home is not the strength of your heart; it’s the strength of your legs.

The reason should be obvious to exercise professionals: your legs can make your heart stronger, but your heart can never make your legs stronger.

Strength training is truly the “fountain of youth” for adults over 40. Stronger muscles from strength exercise make movement of all kinds more inviting by raising the bar of capability. Instead of daily activities such as carrying groceries, walking from parking lots and up stairs, or getting out of chairs and cars being near-maximal efforts, they become less fatiguing and more do-able. more


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