Benefits of Strength Training for Older Adults

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 I wanted to share this surprising fact I read that 7 out of 10 women and 7 out of 20 males over 70 are unable to lift 10 lbs.  Now take a minute to think out your day, your daily activities:  taking out the garbage, lifting a laundry basket, getting out of a chair, lifting the grandchildren and the list goes on and on.  When you are unable to do these activities, you have to rely on someone to help.  This begins the loss of independence. I have worked with many clients 50+, and the one thing they fear the most is the loss of their independence, sometimes even more than death. This is where a proper strength training program can help. Scientific evidence has shown that maintaining muscular strength is an important role in successful aging.  I know the last thing you associate with strength training is older adults.  But with proper guidance and modifications it has many benefits:

  • 1.   Bigger, stronger muscles- everyone remembers the phrase “use it or lose it”, it definitely applies here. As we get older we begin to lose muscle mass, this make daily activities even harder.  With a regular strength program you will begin to see a noticeable change in 4-6 weeks.
  • 2.   Better balance- balance problems are usually a sign of weak muscles.  As we build muscle and get stronger our balance generally improves.  Resulting in fewer falls.
  • 3.   Daily activities become easier- this is where you start to notice functional strength.  Functional strength is defined as “training to improve real-world performance”, as your strength increases you will begin to notice daily activities getting easier. 
  • 4.   Stronger bones- strength training is one of the most important steps in the prevention of osteoporosis.  Research has shown that strength training can help strengthen our bones and avoid this disease.
  • 5.   Better mobility- with added strength stairs become easier and we can walk faster and farther.  This increases our independence and deduces our reliance on other people.
  • 6.   Better weight management- strength training, especially combined with aerobic training is a great way to control our bodyweight.  Your body burns calories and fat while you exercise.  Also as we build muscle, our metabolism increases.  Remember that muscle weights more that fat, so don’t go by the scale, go by inches.  It is possible to lose inches without much change in total bodyweight. 

Strength training is safe for everyone.  But as with any exercise program always check with your doctor first.  Remember to perform the exercise correctly and start slow, the majority of injury occur from progressing too quickly.  With all the compelling evidence linked to strength training and regular exercise, the time to get started is now.