Physical fitness knows no age, time, and limit. Strength training, for example, is for everyone, regardless of their age. In fact, training with the help of weights can be quite beneficial, even for older individuals. Although strength training usually summons images of young 20-somethings trying to build massive guns, the truth is that this form of exercise can benefit anyone. With the right warming up, workout education, good form, proper breathing, and safe workout progression, seniors can get all the advantages of training with weights.
In fact, we would be so bold as to say that strength training for seniors is paramount. As we age, our bodies change as well. Our physical strength deteriorates. Old age also leads to a slower metabolism, decreased muscle mass and strength, increased body fat, reduced bone density, increased bone porosity, stiffer joints, and slower reflexes.
This is why strength training can make a great deal of difference to older people. With strength training, you can age gracefully. That being said, here are some of the important benefits of strength training for seniors:
Strength training slows down decreased aerobic capacity.
As you grow older, your aerobic capacity decreases. This is one of the normal changes people experience as they age. However, it does not have to completely change the way you live your life. In order to slow down and minimize such change, exercise can make a difference, particularly if you include strength training in your workout regime.
Strength training prevents bone fractures.
When you grow older, bone fractures and breaks become rather apparent. This is due to loss of bone density and osteoporosis that go along with aging. Contrary to popular belief, weight-bearing aerobic exercise and strength training, when done properly, can increase density and reduce the risks of breaks. The good news is that there is plenty of evidence suggesting that exercise can improve bone density.
Strength training increases muscle mass.
It is said that the average adult has lost 25 percent of their muscle mass by the age of 70. The usual culprit is disuse and inactivity. It can be said, then, that exercise can reverse this. Any forms of exercise, particularly weight lifting, strength training, and resistance training, can build muscle mass and strength, even for older people.
Strength training improves functional movement.
Another benefit of strength training is that it increases strength and improves overall function. How? Older adults can gain more mobility, can walk farther, and even reduce the need for assistive devices like canes and walkers. This can go as far as performing all kinds of functional movements such as sitting or getting in the bathtub. With proper strength training, your life will be a lot easier and you will be more capable of engaging in physical activity.
Strength training yields better body composition.
It is common that older people, especially women, tend to gain more fat and lose muscle mass as they age. Such a situation leads to the potential risk of having chronic illnesses. This is why all kinds of exercise are highly recommended in order to maintain good body composition.
Strength training improves mental health.
Finally, strength training translates into improved mental health. As they say, mental health is just as essential as physical health. With old age seemingly comes the potential risk for loneliness and social isolation, depression, and other mental health issues. The good thing is that strength training keeps you no longer isolated and makes you a part of a social circle. Apart from this, it will increase your mobility, improve your function, and boost your mood, allowing you to enjoy improved overall health and a better quality of life!