If you want to maintain your independence longer, you can’t ignore upper-body strength.
“We go through life and have to be able to push things and pull things,” says Jason Machowsky, R.D., C.S.C.S., a sports performance specialist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. “From opening a door to lifting grocery bags to opening a window or jars, upper-body strength gives us the ability to do these daily activities.”
Plus, many older adults enjoy playing sports like tennis and golf, which take a certain amount of upper-body strength and mobility to do well, he says.
Unless you make an effort to build or maintain your muscle, it won’t stick around forever. Age-related decline in muscle mass, also known as sarcopenia, starts around age 40 and continues at a steady rate until up to 50 percent of our muscle is gone by age 80, according to a review in the journal Current Opinion in Rheumatology.