When you first think of strength training, what image comes to mind? For most, it’s young, muscular individuals, athletes, or strength sports. However, strength training is not just for the young and agile, in fact – if you’re over 50, strength training is something you absolutely should be doing!
While most seniors practice daily walking, one study found that 40% of people over 65 do not strength train at all. Many trainers, including Casey Hewitt at Speedflex, believe that strength training has major benefits for those in their 50’s, 60’s, and even older:
“Regularly working out in this way builds muscle and replenishes the muscle mass that steadily declines as we age. It also boosts bone density and aids the metabolism. Over time, this could reduce your chances of suffering with arthritis, as it supports muscles around the joints, and diabetes, due to a boosted metabolism,” Hewitt said.
Stop for a second and consider a few of the many benefits strength training provides for seniors:
- Prevents bone/muscle deterioration
- Helps preserve independence
- Slows effects of aging
- Prevents falls, immobility, and the rehabilitation costs that come with falls
- Decreases chances of arthritis, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes
- Increases serotonin production, resulting in better sleep and decreased anxiety
- Strengthens the heart, pumping blood throughout the body
- Reduces headaches, joint aches, and joint pain
- Increases confidence and self-esteem
Experts are starting to believe that exercise, particularly strength training, is a major key to keeping more seniors safe from falls. While Medicare hasn’t come around on subsidizing exercise programs yet, the evidence is clear that preventative maintenance on the body can prevent issues from arising. Programs like Band Together, a free strength training program offered by Penn State Hershey Medical Center, are starting to form.
If you’re a senior and want to begin strength training, the first step is to re-define what strength training means to you! Get the image of professional athletes and strongmen/women out of your head. You aren’t doing this to set any records, you’re doing this because it can help you live longer, prevent disease, and improve quality of life.
National Institutes of Health recommends strength exercises for seniors, working out all major muscle groups at least 2 days per week for 30 minutes at a time. Start small, with a weight you can only lift 5-8 times and use that weight until you can lift it 8-12 times. Wrist curls, arm curls, elbow extensions, chair dips, leg raises, and knee curls are all great workouts to start out with.
Start small with some of BODYCRAFT's benches and racks that allow you to utilize free weights of your choice. BODYCRAFT also features top-of-the-line functional trainers that allow you to define the path of motion! Our team can help you select the perfect home gym that offer fitness solutions for all fitness levels, as well as the ability to exercise in the comfort of your own home.