Introducing strength training to the elderly.
While most people consider elderly as being sixty five and older I want to define elderly in the context of this blog as someone who is beginning to suffer from age related diseases or illnesses and / or age associated complications such as sarcopenia and loss in motor control. You may feel these symptoms at forty five or maybe not until your sixty five but it is crucial to take that step to slow down and even reverse these age related processes when they arise, or, before they arise.
I regularly encounter resistance by older individuals when suggesting a strength training program to help combat age related illnesses.
“ I can't do that” “ I will hurt myself “
“ I prefer go go walking for exercise “
Are among the top reasons I hear from elderly people who are not interested or are afraid of weight training.
So why do we want the elderly to lift weights?
Training with weights is a lot different to other forms of exercise and has a unique array of benefits that only weight training can produce.
The goal of resistance training in the elderly is to reduce muscle loss , increase bone density and to improve motor control.
Weight training has the ability to increase bone density and prevent osteoporosis, a major determining factor in the quality of life. Strong bones are absolutely crucial to an aging population with far less chance of breaks and fractures.
Weight training stimulates muscle growth and can offset sarcopenia which is important for decreasing risk of falls, bone breaks and even early mortality. Strong muscles are supple and elastic. Gaining strength has the ability to increase your flexibility and your mobility, making every day tasks easier and improving your overall quality of life.
Contrary to common belief, weight training when done correctly is not dangerous. Smart trainers know when to progress or regress exercises so you are safe and can get the most out of each session. In fact, weight training will help tremendously with motor control and coordination. Having the ability to fire muscles more efficiently and have finer hand eye coordination are so important to decrease risk of accidents such as falling over or tripping. Weight training has proven time and time again to be very beneficial in the elderly population by increasing bone density and muscle mass as well as gaining and recovering lost motor control.
It is a safe and effective form of exercise you can utilise to improve your overall quality of life.
If you have any questions health and fitness related please get in touch.