The benefits of strength training for older adults are many. Exercise in general is widely regarded by many medical professionals as being beneficial for curbing heart and respiratory disease as well as delivering overall well-being and good health.
Strength training is key to maintaining health and it helps you stay independent as you age.
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, according to researc
It is often speculated that fewer people over 50, however, entertain the idea of lifting weights on a regular basis.
When lifting weights, what you’re doing is providing a method of resistance to targeted muscle groups and doing that regularly provides many benefits to many people of all ages.
Knowing how to start exercising can be a challenge but an exercise regime of physical activity that incorporates strength workouts is feasible.
Strength Training Helps with Weight Management
Many of us put on a bit of excess weight as we age and most of us don’t want it because it’s nearly always all fat. Our needs for caloric intake diminish as we get older.
For many women, hormonal changes following menopause also contribute to body compositional changes as well.
Additionally, the metabolic rate slows down as we age partly due to the reduction of lean muscle mass. A slower metabolic rate means you burn calories less efficiently and any excess is converted to fat.
The more lean muscle mass you have the more calories are burned off.
Strength training, or resistance training, is a great way to increase the body’s energy requirements. It also lessens body fat mass and improves the metabolically active muscle tissue in older people.
Strength Training Helps with Our Bone Health
The serious loss of bone tissue is medically termed osteoporosis and it affects middle-aged women the most.
Peak bone mass is at age 30. Normally after 50, 1-3% is lost per year. After 60 it rises to 3%, although for women it is often more.
The body is unable to keep up with the production of bone tissue cells and calcium and other vitamins so the bones become fragile.
The first symptoms are nearly always a fracture after some seemingly innocuous activity.
Did you know that bones are living tissue that need exercise to gain strength, just like the muscles?
Strength workouts help the integrity of not only your muscles, but also bones, maintaining them and encouraging new tissue cell growth.
A strength training program that activates all the moving parts can help the body in motion promoting good coordination and balance improving posture.
Mental Benefits from Strength Training
There is enough evidence to show that working out with weights on a regular basis improves mental health conditions like anxiety and depression.
Resistance training may also reduce or even prevent cognitive decline in midlife and beyond. The research, published in NeuroImage: Clinical, found that six months of strength training led to cognitive improvements in people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and significantly slowed neurodegeneration linked with Alzheimer’s disease.
Less fatigue, more stamina, and increased confidence through higher self-esteem were all symptoms that the medical trials revealed.
One specific study compared pain relief from strength training over cardiovascular activity and the strength training won.
How to Start
Before commencing any strength training program, it is advisable to get clearance from your doctor.
It’s important to assess whether there are any muscular problems or bone issues that need to be worked with before starting a new regimen.
After that, finding a qualified trainer is a next advisable step. In my article, ‘Traits of a Good Personal Trainer‘, I list traits and qualities to look for when hiring a coach.
More Benefits of Strength Training
So apart from losing excess weight, becoming stronger, preventing many falls, and strengthening bones, strength training can also help us sleep better, look more toned, feel more confident, and enter our later years able, independent, and healthy.
More and more benefits of strength training are being discovered. While all forms of exercise can add value to your health, strength training definitely packs a ton of amazing benefits.
From improved strength and flexibility to better bone health and controlled body fat, strength training will make you look and feel better.
Some of this content was originally published here.