With the right training you can maintain your strength as you get older
Do-at-home moves to help you maintain your strength after 40
The bad news first: our muscles get weaker as we age. Between 40 and 80, people can lose up to 50 per cent of their muscle mass. ‘This reduces our ability to handle stress at the joints and absorb ground forces,’ says Gareth Cole, performance coach at Third Space health clubs (thirdspace.london). The good news is that running, and working on your strength, can slow this process. Research in Medicineandscience insportandexercise in 2010 found masters runners had, on average, 140 motor neuron units in their shin muscles, compared with 150 in a group of younger runners (average age of 25) and just 91 for a group of sedentary older people. This doat-home programme from Cole will help masters runners maintain strength and guard against age-related muscle decline.
1/ WARM UP
The following moves are designed to raise the heart rate, activate specific neuromuscular junctions and mobilise the joints. Perform for 5-10 minutes.
CALVES GLUTEUS MEDIUS:
Sitting on floor with your legs straight, place the roller under your lower legs, just above your Achilles tendons, and roll over it with your hips off the floor. Do 20 rolls.
ITB (ILIOTIBIAL BAND)
Lying on your side, with the roller just above your knee, and using your forearm for balance, roll all the way up to your hip and back down again. Sitting on a roller (with it placed just below your coccyx), cross one ankle above the knee of the other leg and roll the glute of the bent-leg side. Do 20 rolls. FOAM -ROLLING Do 20 rolls on each side. @runnersworlduk RUNNER’S WORLD 10/16
Using a rail or wall for balance, stand on one leg and swing the other leg, progressing to a full range of motion for both side-to-side and front-to-back swings. Do 10 reps on each leg.
THORACIC SPINE ROTATION
Standing in a split stance (one foot placed in front of the other), lift your arms out to your sides to shoulder height and rotate your upper body from side to side. Do 20 reps.
SMALL CALF RAISES
Stand tall, with your feet together, your legs straight and arms held loosely by your side. Now, slightly push your heels off the floor, then return. Do 20 reps.
Do these moves two (or, if possible, three) times a week, with a minimum of 48 hours between each session. (Remember, you’ll be running, too.)
ECCENTRIC CALF RAISES
Target the calf muscles. With your feet together and legs straight, push your heels off the floor to the highest point of your tiptoes, then take one leg off the floor and lower down to the floor slowly (five secs). 2 x 20 reps.
Targets the hamstrings and adductors. Lying on your back, knees bent and squeezing a foam roller between your knees, push your hips up and hold, forming a straight line from knees to upper back. 2 x 20 seconds.
Targets core muscles. Hold a side plank for five secs. Then roll into a normal plank and hold for five secs. Then roll onto the opposite side and hold for five secs. Rolling back to start position is one rep. 2 x 5 reps.
SINGLE-LEG KNEE FLEXION
This targets the quadriceps and muscles that support the knee. Stand on one leg and raise the other. Now, alternately bend and straighten your standing leg slightly. Keep your upper body ‘tall’. 2 x 20 reps.
SINGLE-LEG DEAD LIFT
Targets the hip extensors (glutes), which predominantly produce the force on push-off. Standing on one leg, bend your knee slightly and bow forward with a straight back, keeping your hips high and level. 2 x 12 reps.
Targets back, shoulder and hip extensors. Lying face down in a ‘Superman’ position, lift your left arm and right leg a few inches off the floor for five seconds, then swap sides. That’s one rep. 2 x 10 reps.