The Importance of Strength Training in Older Adults

Oct 28, 2010

Lori Francoeur

by Lori Francoeur
PT, MSPT, CSCS | Owner of the Ahwatukee Location

If there is one thing you should be doing for injury and disease prevention – it’s strength training! Whether it’s with your own body weight, bands, machines or good ol’ fashion pumping iron, strength training has many long term health and fitness benefits. The good thing is it doesn’t matter how old you are or how out of shape you feel. You can start any where, any time and reap the benefits!
As we get older, strength training can provide numerous benefits. Regular weight training can help reduce the signs and symptoms of chronic conditions and diseases, including diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, back pain and obesity. Studies have also shown that regular strength training can improve balance and flexibility, which can reduce the likelihood of falls and fractures. Post-menopausal women can lose 1-2% of their bone mass each year, which puts them at high risk for osteoporosis; however, studies have shown that regular strength training can increase bone density and reduce women’s risk of fractures. In addition, lifting weights builds lean muscle mass and in turn, can raise your metabolism and help maintain your weight; it can also improve your sleep, reduce your risk of heart disease, and improve self-esteem and self-image. The benefits are endless!
Strength training should be performed 2 to 3 times per week hitting most major muscle groups, including back, abdomen, hips, legs, shoulders and arms. Always give yourself 24 hours between workouts to allow your muscles to rest and recover. Before you start strength training, you should consult your physician, especially if you have any medical conditions. Most likely, you will be able to start strength training but you will need to start slowly and conservatively. It may be in your best interest to work with a qualified fitness instructor, physical therapist or personal trainer for a couple of sessions to get instruction on proper form and an appropriate strength training program for you. More importantly, you should never have pain with strength training, only muscle soreness.
Feeling good and good about yourself is an indication that you are exercising properly. No more excuses….now is the time to start strength training today!
For more information on a strength training program that is right for you, contact a Foothills Sports Medicine clinic near you at www.foothillsrehab.com.

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