GALVA — Eat healthy - check. Get aerobic exercise - check. Do strength training - not so much.

The loss of muscle mass can slip up on us without warning. At some point we realize we can’t do the things we used to, but also don’t know how to counter the process.

Kansas State University has launched Stay Strong, Stay healthy to help older adults regain strength and improve balance and flexibility and overall health in the process.

The eight-week program for older adults is designed to boost health and quality of life.

The McPherson County Extension Office will be offering this program starting in January to be held in Galva. Times are still being determined. Participants will need to pay a $20 program fee and be willing to lift two days a week, about an hour each time for eight weeks.

The class size is limited due to the availability of weights that will be provided for participants. Weights will be provided. Women and men are welcome and encouraged to participate.

“Adults start to lose muscle mass, even at early as our 30s. And in our 50s it really starts to accelerate,” said K-State Research and Extension Family and Consumer Science Specialist Sharolyn Jackson.

But older adults are sometimes reluctant to start strengthening activities to counter the effects of aging on their bodies. The idea of going to a gym or not knowing the proper exercises to do at home can keep people from starting.

“We’re excited to bring Stay Strong, Stay healthy to Kansas,” said K-State Family and Consumer Science Specialist, Gayle Price, who with Jackson, coordinates the program. It originated at Tufts University and was initially designed for women.

The University of Missouri adapted it for men and women. K-State is using the Missouri adapted program.

Participants in Stay Strong, Stay healthy meet for one-hour sessions, twice a week for eight weeks. Activities include warm-up exercises, strengthening exercises with and without weights, and cool-down stretches. Class members are encouraged to do the exercises on their own once more per week.

Post-menopausal women can lose 1 to 2 percent of their bone mass annually, said Price, who noted that research has shown that strength training restores bone density and reduces the risk of fractures among women aged 50 to 70.

Other potential benefits of strength training include a decrease in arthritis pain, weight maintenance, and a reduction in the risk of diabetes, heart disease and depression. Stress management and improvement in sleep quality and overall physical vitality are other potential benefits.

If interested, please contact Jana McKinney at 620-241-1523 or email for more information. The class lasts for 8 weeks; there will be an assessment before participating and after. Participants may need to get their doctor’s permission to participate. This is a great way to start the new year, making a difference in your life in a way you can do it!