Vital Strength Training for Older Adults
For people who are over the age of 50 that want to stay in great shape, and improve their overall health and wellbeing, strength training is important.
(Strength Training With Weights Photo: Foto Garage AG)
What is Strength Training?
Strength training exercises are designed to help people improve both their strength and endurance.
This type of resistance-training exercise can be done in a variety of ways, including with your own bodyweight, or external weights such as dumbbells, barbells, or kettlebells. If you want to use kettlebells, check out these options you can find at Walmart and elsewhere.
There are also many different training activities that people can engage in to increase their strength.
Benefits of Strength Training for Older Adults
There are many benefits of strength training for people over the age of 50. These are just some of the reasons you might consider starting strength training:
- You will get stronger and prevent your body from becoming frail. Many older adults are concerned about not being able to take care of themselves physically as they age. By keeping your body strong and healthy, not only will you enjoy the immediate benefits of added energy and strength, you may extend your normal, independent lifestyle for a longer duration.
- You will be able to maintain your bone density. Good bone density is important, as it lowers the chances of breaking a bone if you fall. Adults age 50 and older who strength train are less likely to lose bone density, and are therefore less likely to break their bones.
- You will have better balance. As you strengthen your body, you can strengthen your core muscles. A strong core is important for both maintaining and improving your balance, so you can prevent falls.
- You will be able to maintain or improve your mobility. Often, older adults and seniors are concerned about losing their mobility. Even if you aren’t ready for a wheelchair or scooter yet, you can start work on maintaining your mobility now. With enough effort, you can even improve your mobility.
- You will be able to reduce the risk of developing sarcopenia (the loss of muscle mass and strength). According to Austin Baraki, M.D., sarcopenia can lead to “hospitalization, re-admission, and all-cause, CV, and cancer mortality.” By performing strength training exercises, muscle mass and strength can be maintained.
The biggest reason to do strength training is that you will be physically healthier overall and better able to take care of yourself – enabling you to remain independent for as long as possible.
Best Strength Training If You’re Over the Age of 50?
The National Strength and Conditioning Association suggests that older adults should perform this type of exercise two to three times per week. It’s also recommended that older adults strengthen all of the major muscle groups.
There are a lot of options when it comes to the type of equipment you can use use for strength training, including free weights, barbells, and gym stations.
It’s important to take safety precautions while strength training regardless of your age or the equipment being used. When strengthening exercises are performed safely and correctly, they can be very effective.
Listen to your body. It’s okay to experience some discomfort, but you should stop if you are unable to talk. It’s okay to take breaks or stop a session early if your body is telling you to.
Don’t allow your joints to lock up. It’s important to keep a slight bend in your knees and elbows in stead of straightening them out completely.
Allow your muscles to recover in between sessions. 48 hours is a good amount of time to wait between strength training sessions.
Use the correct form. Performing strength training exercises improperly can lead to injuries and slow down your progress.
How to Start Strength Training
If strength training sounds like a good fit for you, you’re probably wondering how you can get started. The most important and first step to take, is to consult with your doctor. If he/she gives you the thumbs up to begin strength training, then consider these options:
Hire a personal trainer. A personal trainer can create a plan for you to follow so you’re performing effective exercises. In addition, a personal trainer can help ensure that you’re performing each exercise correctly and safely. They can also recommend what type of gym equipment is best suited to help you reach your goals.
Work with a physical therapist. A physical therapist can help you with your range of motion and any joint issues you may have. They can suggest the optimal resistance training equipment for each recommended exercise.
Attend a group fitness class. There are classes for people of all ages and strength levels. Check with your local gym or fitness center to see what classes they are currently offering.
Watch age-appropriate workout videos online. There are many free videos on YouTube that are geared toward people age 50 or over. If you’re ready to purchase workout equipment for your home gym, check out this price-tracking software to help you find the best deals on home gym products.
By using these resources, you can ensure that you’re performing strengthening exercises safely and effectively. Plus, you will get the support and encouragement you need in a one-on-one or group setting.
Strength training is the best way for people over the age of 50 to regain their mobility, boost health, and live longer.
*This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as expert medical or mental health advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician or mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical or mental health condition. In the event of a medical emergency, call a doctor or 911 immediately. This website does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the Site or on other websites it links to. Reliance on any information provided by this website or other websites it links to, is solely at your own risk.*