Strength training has benefits for all ages, but it can be a neglected part of an exercise program for men and women aged 50 years and older. As we age, staying active and maintaining a health workout routine becomes crucial, especially if you want strong bones.
Research suggests that when performed correctly, strengthening exercises are a safe way to improve fitness and health, even in older adults who have health conditions such as arthritis. This is the best way to get strong bones at any age.
In fact, strength training—when used along with aerobic exercise—can have significant effects on your mental and emotional well-being too.
As you age, strength training can help reduce the effects of many diseases and health challenges, such as:
Strength training encourages increased bone density and builds muscle mass.
Strength training can also help you reach and maintain a healthy body weight by promoting increased metabolism and decreased body fat. Better still, it improves overall body composition and reduces the risks of obesity-related diseases.
How often should a person engage in strength training to experience these benefits?
Ideally, you should perform 30 to 60 minutes of exercise on three nonconsecutive days a week. Exercise all major muscle groups at moderate intensity, doing 10 to 15 repetitions, for one or two sets. As you get stronger over time, you can increase the weight.
While strength-training exercises have numerous benefits, they must be performed properly to ensure safety and maximum gains.
It is particularly important that older adults consult a doctor before beginning a strength-training program. The next step is to see us for a personalized strength-training program that takes into account your specific health and fitness goals, which will allow you to get the most benefits from your regimen.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kim Gladfelter, MPT, OCS, FAAOMPT
Women's Health Physical Therapy Specialist at PhysioFit Physical Therapy & Wellness
Kim Gladfelter is a physical therapist, Pilates instructor, educator, author, and co-founder of PhysioFit Physical Therapy & Wellness. She is known as a keen, well-rounded expert of healing through movement and women’s health specialist in the Silicon Valley area.
Kim has helped men and women of all ages to stay active and feel their best. She also writes about managing pain in her health columns, blogs and the local Los Altos Town Crier newspaper as well as reaches out to the local community, support groups, schools, libraries, and sports centers to advise and educate on body awareness and therapeutic exercise.