How To Maintain Strength And Coordination As You Age

How To Maintain Strength And Coordination As You Age

Many physical abilities, including strength, swiftness, and stamina, decline as we age. Additionally, changes occur in coordinating the body’s movements, making it more challenging to perform everyday activities like walking, carrying groceries, bathing, cooking, and playing with grandchildren.  

While there may be a myth that exercising less as you age is acceptable, the opposite is true.  

In fact, decreased physical activity levels are among the most significant causes of reduced strength and coordination with aging. This blog discusses how bodies age and the role of exercise and other factors in helping seniors maintain strength and coordination over time. 

Understanding the Aging Process 

Aging is an inevitable, natural process that affects physical abilities and overall health. For instance, loss of muscle mass results in decreased strength, and reduction in bone density makes seniors susceptible to fractures. Surprisingly, muscle strength reduction begins in the 30s, much earlier than expected, and may reach 40.9% for those over 40. 

Balance and coordination may also decline, making older people prone to falls. These changes and the onset of chronic diseases like arthritis can impact the ability to perform everyday activities and reduce their overall quality of life. 

Seniors living by themselves usually need to exercise more. For instance, while binge-watching is very entertaining, it leads to a sedentary lifestyle. Fortunately, those living in facilities like Vivante assisted living have balanced, fun, engaging, and physically stimulating activities that ensure residents are getting adequate exercise safely.

Parkinson’s disease patients, hand pain, knee pain, arthritis, or taking care of your mental health with a senior doctor

The Importance Of Exercise In Combating The Effects Of Aging 

Use it or lose it! How often have we encountered this passage but thought nothing of it? On average, from 40 years old onwards, a person loses lean muscle mass at the rate of 1%-2% annually, resulting in a decline in muscle strength of 1.5-5% every year. 

Exercise has been shown to counter this trend by improving muscle strength and endurance, increasing bone density, and enhancing balance and coordination. Other benefits are increased confidence because they are more independent and have a sense of well-being. Here’s how exercise specifically helps maintain strength and coordination in older people: 

Muscle Strength

Resistance training exercises, such as weightlifting or using resistance bands, help stimulate muscle growth and maintain muscle mass. Muscle strength is essential for activities of daily living, like lifting objects, climbing stairs, or getting up from a chair. Strong muscles also provide stability and support to the joints, reducing the risk of falls and injuries.

Bone Health

Walking, jogging, or dancing are some weight-bearing exercises that may help maintain and improve bone density. These activities exert stress on the bones, making them stronger and denser, helping prevent osteoporosis. Adults suffering from osteoporosis are at risk of incurring fractures.

Balance and Coordination 

Exercises focusing on balance, such as tai chi or yoga, may significantly improve coordination and stability. These activities help strengthen the muscles involved in balance and train the body to maintain proper posture and equilibrium. Improving balance and coordination may reduce the risk of falls, leading to increased confidence and independence. 

Cognitive Function 

Regular exercise has positively affected cognitive function and brain health because of increased blood flow to the brain. It also promotes the release of endorphins, chemicals that enhance mood, reduce stress, and stimulate the growth of new brain cells. By improving cognitive function, exercise may help strengthen motor skills, coordination, and overall physical performance in older adults. 

Joint Flexibility 

Exercises focusing on flexibility, like stretching or yoga, may help maintain and improve joint mobility. Aging can lead to decreased joint flexibility, affecting movement and coordination. Regular stretching exercises help improve the range of motion in joints, allowing for smoother and more coordinated movements. 

Overall Health Benefits

Exercise has numerous other health benefits that indirectly contribute to maintaining strength and coordination in older adults. These include the following:

  • decreased pain
  • improved cardiovascular health, 
  • reduced risk of chronic conditions, 
  • better mood and mental well-being, and 
  • increased energy levels.

Exercises and Lifestyle Changes for Seniors To Maintain Strength and Coordination 

Regular exercise is essential for seniors to maintain their strength and coordination. Certain lifestyle changes may also help improve physical function and overall well-being. Here are some exercises and lifestyle changes that seniors can incorporate into their daily routines: 

Strength-training Exercises 

Strength-training exercises, such as weightlifting or resistance band exercises, may help seniors maintain muscle mass and strength. These exercises challenge the muscles, promoting growth and repair. Seniors can work with a trainer or physical therapist to develop a safe and effective strength-training program.

Balance Exercises 

Balance exercises (e.g., standing on one leg or walking heel-to-toe) may help seniors improve their balance and coordination. These exercises challenge the body’s ability to maintain balance, improving overall stability and reducing the risk of falls. Seniors can start with simple balance exercises and gradually increase the difficulty as they improve. 

Cardiovascular Exercises 

The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise spread throughout the week and strength training at least twice weekly. Cardiovascular exercises like brisk walking or cycling may help seniors improve their endurance and overall cardiovascular health. These exercises may also help prevent chronic ailments like heart disease, metabolic disease, and diabetes.

Dietary Changes 

Seniors can also improve their physical function by making certain dietary changes. For example, increasing protein intake may help maintain muscle mass and strength. The Mediterranean Diet incorporates proteins for muscle replacement and beneficial fats for brain and heart health. Additionally, consuming adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D may help maintain bone density, reducing the risk of fractures. 

Proper Sleep And Stress Management 

Sleeping 7-8 hours a day and stress management are also important for seniors to maintain physical function. Lack of sleep and high-stress levels can negatively impact physical abilities and overall well-being. 

By incorporating these exercises and lifestyle changes into their daily routine, seniors can maintain their strength and coordination, improving their overall quality of life. 


Regular exercise becomes even more critical with aging. Increasing the duration of exercise may be necessary to counterbalance changes in the body, like decreased muscle mass. The good news is that physical activities that improve strength, coordination, and balance may help people of any age, with the added benefit of improving overall health, reducing pain, and restoring confidence.

A tailored exercise program incorporating activities that target strength, balance, coordination, flexibility, and lifestyle changes may help older adults maintain their physical abilities and promote a higher quality of life.