Benefits Of Strength Training For Older Adults
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Cardiovascular exercise is commonly associated with what people think is necessary to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle as we grow older. Well, that's not completely false but the benefits of strength training in older adults is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle and the need cannot be stressed enough.

As we age, our bodies naturally go through changes that cause our muscle mass to decrease. The loss of skeletal muscle mass is known as sarcopenia. Sarcopenia can be associated with lack of exercise through the years, as well as a reduced production of certain hormones. Therefore, whether you exercise frequently or not, some degree of sarcopenia will occur during the aging process. Unformtunately, the reduction in muscle mass as we age can be detrimental to our overall health and can contribute to weakness which can lead to injuries and reduced metabolic rate which can lead to difficulty maintaining a healthy weight. Strength training has been shown to reduce the effects of sarcopenia and benefit the body of older adults in many ways.

Some of the benefits include:

a. Improved muscle strength - strength training obviously helps you improve the strength of your muscles. As the muscles are strengthened, they help support the bones of the body and help prevent injury during activity. For example, the muscles of your back help support your spinal column and help you maintain proper posture and balance.

b. Burn calories better - as you do strength training, your body builds new, stronger muscle fibers which in turn make you a stronger person. Those newer, stronger muscles are calorie burning powerhouses and help you burn calories during cardiovascular exercise more efficiently. Those new muscle fibers actually grow during your times of rest (like at night while your asleep). As they grow they can burn around 100 calories - which means you burn calories while you sleep. So believe it or not, strength training does help you lose and maintain your weight.

c. More energy - strength training gives you energy and makes you feel stronger and more interested in activity. Since building muscles makes you stronger, it helps older adults maintain independence as they age and helps reduce the fear of injury which comes with increasing fragility.

d. Reduced chronic diseases - since you burn more calories and are active while strength training, it stands to reason that you are reducing your risk of chronic diseases that are associated with sedentary lifestyle, such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, and osteoporosis.

How often should older adults strength train?

The National Institutes on Aging recommend that strength training be combines with a cardiovascular program for the best results. Strength training should be done 2 times per week at the minimum. Be careful not to over do when you training. It is important to vary which muscle group you target among your workout days.

How do you strength train?

It is not necessary to have a gym membership to be able to do strength training. For many older adults, traveling daily to a gym may not be feasible. Therefore, there are a variety of ways to improve strength in the privacy of the home. Whatever your decision on how to get your strength training done must be an individual decision. The best work out is the one you can stick too.

Please let me know if you have any questions related to strength training, fitness or nutrition through the ages. I love to chat about this with anyone.

Thanks,

Stacie


Street Talk

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