My Great Grandmother, who was a farmer's daughter and a farmer's wife carried the heavy weight of raising her siblings after her mother died in the flu pandemic of 1918. Then carried the weight of raising her own five children along with helping to run the family farm. By the time, during my childhood, that I knew her, she was well into her eighties, living in the city, but still carrying so much weight. She put up provisions filling the basement shelves with luscious jars of fruits and vegetables. My Great Granny looked as you might imagine grey hair, round as a dumpling, most days she wore a flowered housedress and never removed her apron because she spent so much time cooking. She was strong - in many ways, but she was especially strong thanks to her cookware: heavy cast iron.
There are so many "labor saving devices" that have actually helped in some ways while hindering in others. Since so many of the products we use on a regular basis are lighter we don't get the exercise we used to from daily life.
We are happily learning a lot about aging. What was once thought to be inevitable and irreversible we now know is patently false. Frailty and falling are two of aging people's greatest fears. You can fortify yourself staying strong or getting stronger no matter when you begin!
Not all exercise is equal, though all is good.
Jane Brody wrote in the New York Times, that in order to prevent sarcopenia age-related muscle decline, we have to do some heavy lifting. Ms. Brody quotes Dr. John E. Morley, a geriatrician at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, as writing "Sarcopenia can be considered for muscle what osteoporosis is to bone".
Isn't it wonderful then that what is good for bone density also helps build and maintain muscle?
Ms. Brody quotes, Dr. Marilyn Moffat, a professor at New York University, " No matter how old or out of shape you are, you can restore much of the strength you already lost. Dr. Moffat noted that research documenting the ability to reverse the losses of sarcopenia — even among nursing home residents in their 90s — has been in the medical literature for 30 years, and the time is long overdue to act on it.
There are lots of great ways to get moving and build muscle at any age. Check with a physician if you are starting out weight training for the first time. Get a professional to set up an appropriate routine and check your form.
And maybe consider ditching that lightweight cookware for cast iron!