Irrespective of age, strength training is essential for everybody. However, a strength-training program will be different for a 60-year-old person compared to a 20-year-old young, but working on strength is just as necessary for seniors as for young.
Read here why one should do strength training in old age, even after 50, 60, or 70. Also, you will find here what are strength training benefits for seniors.
According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, every adult should do some type of strength training that target all the major muscle groups at least twice a week. If health or capability constraints don’t allow two full sessions, the guidelines recommend that older adults or seniors should perform as much strength training as their health & capabilities permit. (Source: Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans)
Even for older folks having limitations, gaining strength is crucial because it improves their quality of life and ability to live an independent, active life. But unlike the young, they need to start strength training slowly & progressively build up on it as they gain strength – focusing on warming up before any strength training session, good form, proper technique, breathing, and progressing safely.
Helpful Related Post: Strength Training Safety Tips
Why Is Strength Training Important For Seniors?
As we age, our bodies undergo changes that adversely affect our quality of life. Even in the case of healthy individuals, normal aging leads to:
(i) Slowing down metabolism.
(ii) Muscle mass loss resulting in decreasing strength.
(iii) Increased body fat, especially around the belly.
(iv) Bone density loss.
(v) Greater bone porosity.
(vi) Stiffening of joints.
(vii) Poor reflexes and increasing reaction times.
(viii) Decreasing aerobic capacity.
And so on; the list is endless!
The above are just some of the usual changes one undergoes with aging. But you can prevent these from progressing to extreme levels by exercising, especially doing strength training.
Benefits Of Strength Training For Seniors
Bone Fractures Prevention
Because of bone density loss & osteoporosis, bone fractures are quite common in older folks. Though there can be other reasons for osteoporosis – which may require to be managed medically, there is enough evidence to support that exercise can increase bone density. Strength training & weight-bearing exercises improve bone density and thus lessen the risks of bone fracture and breaks.
Strength Training Helps Gain Muscle Mass
By the age of 70, we, on average, lose twenty-five percent of muscle mass. And the leading cause for this loss is inactivity & sedentary lifestyle. Exercise can help preserve, increase & even reverse muscle loss. In addition to building muscle mass, any type of exercise also helps gain strength – but strength, resistance training, and weight lifting are the best.
Strengthening Functional Movement
Enhancing strength through exercise is important for improving overall functional movements. Regular strength training helps older folks gain greater mobility and walk long distances without using assistive devices like canes and walkers.
Gaining strength also helps with all kinds of other everyday functional movements, such as getting out of the bathtub.
Better Body Composition
Seniors, particularly women, are likely to gain more fat when they lose muscle mass with age. This exposes them to a higher risk of chronic lifestyle diseases. All types of exercises help to keep good body composition, and strength training is one of the best kinds of them all.
Strength Training Benefits Seniors For Mental Health
As we age, maintaining mental health is as important as physical health. As you grow older, you are at risk for loneliness, depression, social isolation, and many other mental health issues. With strength training, you gain strength and improve mobility and functional movements – improving overall health, uplifting mood, and overall quality of life.
Takeaway: It’s never too late to exercise; start strength training today and get benefits regardless of age.
About Author: Renu Bakshi, AKA Fitness Buffhq, is ISSA Certified Elite Trainer. He passed Personal Fitness Trainer Course, Nutrition Health Coach course & Specialist Exercise Therapy course from ISSA, USA obtaining + 97% marks. He shares his experience and knowledge about nutrition and effective workouts to get you in the best shape of your life, no matter how old you may be. The author says, ” Age is just a number!”