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Should Senior Citizens Do Strength Training?

Posted on Wednesday, June 1, 2022
by AMAC, D.J. Wilson
Strength Training

The CDC cautions that physically inactive people are more likely to get sick and that obesity and excess weight increase risk of severe disease. We know that exercise is good, but should senior citizens embark on strength training? Experts generally seem to say yes, with medical clearance and supervision to promote safety. Here’s more:

There are many known benefits to strength training. This form of exercise involves using one or more muscle groups to perform specific tasks such as lifting weights or squatting. There are different types of strength training that can be achieved with or without the use of equipment. The goal is to use your body weight or apparatus such as dumbbells to build muscle mass, strength, and endurance. Some common goals of weightlifting include strengthening bones, burning calories, decreasing body fat, increasing stability, mobility, and flexibility, improving heart and lung function, and having a positive effect on mental health. But should seniors consider this form of exercise or is it just for young athletes?

Exercise, such as strength training, is good for most people of all ages because it leaves them feeling stronger and more empowered. Per Weirton Medical, after people turn 50, muscle tone declines by 15% each decade, and can lead to poor balance, falling, and hospitalizations. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that people over age 50 do some weight training because of the immense health benefits to be gained. But exercise must be done properly to stay safe and injury free. And it is important to begin slowly and know one’s limitations. Anyone considering a new exercise routine should first and foremost consult their physician and secondarily consider working with a qualified personal trainer to get started.

Medical science clearly demonstrates an association between muscle loss and increased age. However, strength training, even just twice a week, can counteract some effects by improving bone density and making bodies stronger overall. The idea that weight training is just for young body building athletes is entirely false. Light, moderate, and even intense muscle training can be enjoyed by older adults to stay fit and healthy. Strength training eases health challenges associated with aging and increases confidence in one’s physical and mental abilities. So, ultimately, it’s a win-win for the over 50 population.

This article is purely informational and is not intended as medical advice.

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Dave H
Dave H
1 year ago

I attained Octogenarian status a few years ago. I am fortunate to be living in an adult community where strength training and other physical activities are available. While I was working, I developed the habit of walking on my lunch hour — granted it was more to get away from the (expletive deleted) ‘phone than for physical health. Now I walk most mornings — two laps around the property here equals one mile.Granted, on mornings with water aerobics class I often substitute pool time for my morning walk. I have been more physically active in the five years here than previously and do feel better for it. Strength training classes have shown me more ways to benefit from my own hand weights which I use some evenings. If such activities are available to you, I recommend taking advantage. My thought on exercise: “If you do it all your life, you can do it all your life!”

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