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Strength Training Among Older Adults

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While jogging, and other forms of aerobics have always been very popular among older adults, lifting weights and strength training is largely ignored.

Senior resistance trainingWhile jogging, running, swimming and other forms of aerobics have always been very popular among older adults, lifting weights and strength training is largely ignored.

Research has shown that exercises involving weight lifting are safe and effective for men and women of all ages, including those that aren’t completely healthy. In fact, individuals with health concerns, including heart disease or arthritis, often benefit the most from an exercise regime that involves weight lifting a few times every week.

There are countless benefits to strength training on a regular basis, especially as you grow older. Lifting weights can be very helpful in reducing signs and symptoms of several diseases and chronic conditions, such as:

  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Back Pain
  • Obesity
  • Osteoporosis

Tufts University recently performed a sixteen-week strength training program that consisted of older men and women with moderate to severe knee osteoarthritis. The results of the program concluded that strength training decreased pain by 43%, increased muscle strength and general physical performance, as well as improving the clinical signs and symptoms of the disease.

Strength training also eased the pain of osteoarthritis as much as medications did, if not more. The same results have been seen in patients that have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.

Benefits of Strength Training

Increased Balance and with Less Falls

In older individuals, deteriorating balance and flexibility causes falls and broken bones. Strengthening exercises improve a person’s flexibility and balance. A New Zealand study among women 80 years of age and older showed falls reduced 40% with simple strength and balance training.

Stronger Bones

Post-menopausal women can lose 1-2% of their bone mass annually. Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1994, a study conducted at Tufts University showed that strength training increases bone density among women aged 50-70, while also lowering the risk for fractures.

Weight Control

Strength training is absolutely essential when losing or controlling your weight, because those who have more muscle mass have a higher metabolic rate. Muscle is active tissue that consumes calories, as opposed to fat which uses very little energy. Lifting weights and building muscles can give you up to a 15% increase in your metabolic rate, which is greatly beneficial for weight loss.

In addition to the reasons listed above, strength training is just generally good for the body. Lifting weights gives you a healthy state of mind, improves the quality of your sleep, and lowers the risk of heart disease. Not only that, it tones your muscles and makes your body firm -- which should not only increase your confidence, but give you a naturally younger looking body for years to come.

Have questions about other benefits to strength training as you get older? Join our forum for free!

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Comments (3)

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paul vincent
Posted Sun, 03/21/2010 - 09:02

i am 49 years old, would like to build muscle, have been training for 5 years and not seen significant gain.

right now i am on total body routine

Day one 2x 15-25 reps
Day 2 cardio 20 Minutes of cycling or walking
Day 3 2 x 12-15 reps
day 4 cardio
day 5 2 x 8-10 reps
day 6 cardio

Thank you

Regards
Paul

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wayne
Posted Mon, 12/26/2011 - 09:34

I am 60yrs old an i would not do so much cardio and i would do more sets like about 4 with a little more weight and less reps like around 6-8.I work out every other day with no cardio day 1 arms, day 2 off,, day 3 chest, day 4 off, and day 5 back .I am trying to get a squat rack so i can do legs.I have been doing this for about 3 months and have seen muscle gain .I was a power lifter back in the 70s and i did ok i never won but i was all was around 5 or 6

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Sun, 03/21/2010 - 21:01

Paul...contact me on the forum..."BendtheBar" so we can talk more about your training.

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