Strength, or resistance training is an important element of an effective exercise program for older people. Resistance training has many benefits, and is essential if you want to prevent weakening of your bones, age-related muscle loss, having a progressively reduced range of motion, and increased aches, and pains.
Light walking alone is insufficient to maintain your muscle tone, bone health, balance, and posture. If you’re not engaging in resistance or some other form of muscle strengthening training such as yoga, chances are you’ll become increasingly less physically and mentally functional as you age.
Why Staying active becomes increasingly important as you age
Staying active and maintaining strong muscles becomes increasingly important as you get older, to prevent chronic health problems and injuries from falls. The good news is that even frail seniors can improve strength, agility, and balance through a resistance training programme, personalised to take account of their age, current health and exercise routine.
By the time you’re in your 70’s, depending on the frequency and intensity with which you exercise, your muscle strength and tone will decline by about 25 percent from what you had in your 30s, and will continue to decrease progressively from there.
Strength training has also been shown to slow cellular aging and can actually return gene functionality to levels experienced in your middle age years.
Make sure that you take frequent sips of water during and after your exercise routine, as exercise will increase the loss of body fluids, mainly through sweat. Also to enable you to build muscle, you should eat a light protein snack within an hour of completing your work-out.
Other benefits of strength training
The video below, created by the University of British Columbia, Department of Physical Therapy, provides an excellent demonstration of some very simple resistance exercises for older adults and explains other benefits of exercise, including:
· Improved sleep, which is really important for many reasons, including the fact that both brain cell and muscle growth takes place when we sleep,
· Reducing your risk of life threatening conditions such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, dementia, and cancer, and
· Improving your overall mood and outlook on life. i.e. your sense of well being.
You can view this short, but very helpful video here. PS the actors and music are a bit corny, but it’s still well worth watching
—————————————————————————————————————————————————-Main sources of information for this article:-
Dr. Mercola’s website, an excellent source of information on all aspects of health. This is one of the most popular and informative health and well-being sites on the Web. www.mercola.com
University of British Columbia, Department of physical therapy physicaltherapy.med.ubc.ca/
National Institute on Aging, NIA leads a broad scientific effort to understand the nature of aging and to extend the healthy, active years of life nia.nih.gov/