Strength training is vital to everyone, especially as you become older. When an intruder broke into the Rochester, N.Y., home of 82-year-old Willie Murphy a few months ago, he was met with a big surprise. Murphy, a diminutive but powerlifting woman, quickly jumped into action, using her strength training to pummel the intruder with a broom and send him running for the door. While older men and women needn’t become powerlifters, athletes like Murphy who lift massive weights, experts say strength training using weights heavier than you might expect can be an important component of a healthy future. Beginning about age 30, men and women lose muscle mass at about the rate of 10 percent per decade until about 50, when that loss accelerates to 15 percent per decade. Not having any muscle mass when a person is older can really affect them in ways of injuries, without cushioning from muscle elderly people can fall and severely injure themselves. This is why strength training and building muscle is important especially when you are elderly. Building strength not only helps with avoiding injury but it can also help with the ability to stay independent as someone ages. “Strength declines rapidly if it’s not maintained,” says Seth Larsen, a Fort Worth-based primary care physician and certified strength and conditioning coach. Building strength also helps with your independency, as when your muscle is maintained you aren’t as frail and can do tasks that others at that age cannot.