Pumping iron into the golden years may seem contradictory however, regular strength training has a myriad of health benefits including decreased all-cause mortality, stronger bones, increased flexibility, increased muscle mass, and better weight management. Strength training increases balance, effectively reducing falls and injuries, so much so that the American Cancer Society lists Balance as one of the top 5 reasons to strength train regularly. Although these benefits are obvious to most, the majority of aging adults do not participate in enough activity to earn the full benefits of exercise
What Do These Benefits Mean to Me?
An increase in muscle mass helps reverse the decline seen with aging, called sarcopenia. Fighting sarcopenia helps maintain the metabolism and metabolic health and provides a solid base for you to move about in your daily life. Also seen with an increase in age is a decrease in bone density. Regular strength training allows your body to healthfully maintain adequate bone density while also getting the added benefits of flexibility and balance.
Other benefits include:
Reduced risk of Diabetes
Lowers prevalence of metabolic syndrome
Reduce blood sugar, blood pressure, and risk of hypertension
Increase Cardiovascular strength
Decrease prevalence of depression
Increased mental acuity
Improved immune system function and regulation
Reduced risk of falls
Now, regular strength training doesn’t have to look like a day in the life of Arnold. A few sessions, 20 to 30 minutes, a week with even bodyweight exercises will allow for positive changes. Exercises like a 10-minute walk, lunges, pushups, bodyweight squats (or sit and stand from a sturdy chair), and stair-steps are a great starting point. If you are new to training it is strongly suggested to start with bodyweight exercises and progress as
strength and comfortability increase. Working with a trainer is ideal as they will help guide you through the processes and teach you the ways of the weights. A trainer will make sure to pair you with the right exercises to reach your goals and minimize any setbacks. The key is to start slowly and gradually increase the amount of work you are doing across a few weeks. Remember to change exercises semi-regularly to keep your workouts fun and exciting.