The Importance of Strength Training for Senior Citizens
May 15, 2019
Gone are the days of thinking that when you reach a certain age you need to slow down your activity levels. In fact, now we know that senior citizens who are active and who exercise regularly are staying healthy, happy, functional and mobile for much longer than those who aren’t.
One of the most beneficial types of exercise for senior citizens is strength training, and that can come in many forms: with free weights, resistance bands, machines or even just bodyweight.
Here’s why …
Helps with everyday activities.
When you spend time doing strength training exercises, your body is more able to handle everyday tasks, like carrying groceries, taking the stairs, getting in and out of the car and even caring for your pets and for your home. Strength training gives you a strong foundation through the core, arms and legs, which will also help you to keep your balance and to walk and move around better for years to come so you can maintain your independence.
Reverses muscle loss and improves bone density.
As we get older, it’s common for people to experience muscle loss starting at around age 50 — something called sarcopenia — which can be made worse by inactivity. In addition to that, you also lose bone density naturally as you age, and this is when falls, fractures and other issues are more likely to occur. The good news is that strength training can help maintain your muscle mass as well as build up your bone density, giving you a better chance of avoiding injuries.
Improves cognitive behavior and mood.
It’s been shown that exercise can reduce or slow dementia in senior citizens. And people who strength train always enjoy those post-workout feel-good endorphins as well, lowering their risk of depression.
Reduces risk of disease and illness.
Senior citizens are often more susceptible to chronic diseases like heart disease, arthritis, obesity and even diabetes. Exercise can not only delay and ward off these issues, but it can also help to manage symptoms as well. Strength training both lubricates and challenges the joints and muscles, which can ease arthritis pain, and strength training also gets the heart-rate up to help the body be more efficient at regulating blood-sugar levels and managing weight.
In order to stay mobile, healthy and independent, senior citizens should certainly consider adding strength training to their routine.
It’s best to perform strength training exercises at least two to three days a week, and if you need help getting your workout program started, reach out to a Fitness Together trainer near you today. Our personal trainers specialize in building safe and customized workout programs for people at all levels, and it’s never too late to get started.