If you’re a senior and think you’re too old to start strength training, think again. A qualified physiotherapist or trainer can help guide you through an effective program.
In one study, people over 70 who were entirely unaccustomed to exercise built muscle at the same rate as highly trained master athletes. This is an astounding fact.
As you age, losing muscle mass leads to poor balance and an increased risk of falls. Studies show that adding strength training to your exercise regimen can significantly improve your credit.
Many people are intimidated by starting a new fitness program for fear of hurting themselves or getting too out of shape. However, a qualified personal trainer like Alexandra Chipurnoi can help you build your strength gradually and safely. For a few months, begin performing bodyweight workouts to become accustomed to the movement and learn the technique. This will boost your self-assurance and maintain your interest in exercising, increasing your likelihood of continuing. According to a recent study, even older adults who have never lifted weights can develop muscle. This finding disproves certain common beliefs and demonstrates that aging is not a barrier to muscle growth. This is crucial for older persons who risk falling, breaking their hips, and developing other age-related chronic illnesses.
Improved Muscle Strength
For seniors, better muscle strength means more manageable everyday tasks like carrying groceries or getting up from a chair. And that can lead to improved independence and a higher quality of life. It may reduce arthritis pain by strengthening the muscles, tendons, and ligaments around affected joints. Even frail older adults who begin with light weights and work up to more intense exercises can see significant improvements. That happened in a study of nursing home residents ages 87 to 96, who boosted their strength by 174% after eight weeks of resistance training, also known as weightlifting. That’s significant because it shows no upper age limit for gaining muscle mass. In addition, the benefits of weightlifting linger long after exercise has ended. A 2019 study published in Frontiers in Physiology found that healthy adults over 70 still saw benefits after just one strength training session per week.
Lower Risk of Osteoporosis
In older adults, regular strength training reduces fractures from falls and improves balance. Falling is a greater risk for seniors because bones break more easily in weakened bones. Even a minor fracture can lead to complications such as a hip fracture, which limits mobility and independence. Exercise, especially low-impact exercises incorporating balance and movement-based movements like tai chi, can improve stability and reduce fall risk. Studies have shown that resistance training increases aging adults’ muscle strength and endurance. This is likely because of favorable neuromuscular adaptations, including increased skeletal muscle size and decreased force decrement (i.e., a loss of force with repetition) (536).
Choosing an appropriate exercise intensity for older adults to avoid injury and maintain safety is essential. Consult a health or fitness professional to discuss your goals and find an exercise program that is right for you. An excellent place to start is with bodyweight exercises such as pushups, pullups, planks, and lunges or using a lightweight resistance tubing available at most sporting goods stores.
A poor night’s sleep can significantly reduce a senior’s quality of life. Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder, but other issues like restless leg syndrome and snoring or sleep apnea can also impact seniors. Several factors, including medications, diet, lifestyle, stress, and age-related changes, can cause sleep problems.
Although some of these are unavoidable, some things can be done to improve the situation. For instance, regular exercise releases chemicals that promote a better sleep cycle, and a daily routine can help sync up your natural sleep rhythm. In addition, a healthy diet can also make a difference by keeping your body in optimal shape. Try adding more nutrient-rich foods to your diet and ensuring you get enough sunlight to regulate melatonin levels. Finally, staying socially active can help prevent stress and depression that can cause insomnia and other sleep disorders.
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