Why Seniors Should Lift Weights

Why Seniors Should Lift Weights 

by: Melanie Farley


When you think of strength training, you might have an image of a huge, muscle-clad man like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but elderly people can benefit from lifting weights, too. In fact, adding resistance training into a senior’s daily routine can have a myriad of benefits for the body and mind.

By the age of 70, the average adult has lost about 25 percent of their muscle mass, mostly due to inactivity. Any exercise can reverse muscle loss and build strength, but weightlifting, strength training, and resistance training are best. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the benefits of strength training for older adults, and we’ll go over a few simple exercises that your senior can start right away!


Lifting Weights Builds Strong Bones  

Osteoporosis has haunted women since the dawn of time. We can see ancient Egyptian mummies who have the signature dowagers hump, a curve in the upper back that causes elderly women to look slumped over. It is estimated that by age 65, nearly half of all women will experience some form of Osteoporosis.

Resistance training improves bone density, and increases muscle mass, making bones less frail and less prone to breaks or fractures. Strength training can also help ease arthritis pain, thanks to the release of synovial fluid that lubricates the joints during the activity.


Building Muscle Improves Functional Movement  

Building muscle can help seniors feel more at ease during their daily activities. Studies have shown that seniors who regularly strength train can walk for longer periods of time. They also have an easier time sitting or getting in and out of the bathtub.  When daily activities are easier to manage, life is more enjoyable, and seniors have more options for how they spend their time.


Strength Training Enhances Mental Health

Like any exercise, strength training improves confidence and reduces the risk of mental health issues like anxiety or depression. Seniors who strength train regularly also experience more restful sleep, and they live longer. Studies have also shown that resistance training can prevent cognitive decline associated with diseases like Alzheimer’s.


Getting Started - A few simple exercises 

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that anyone over age 50 incorporate some training with light weights or a resistance band 1-2 times per week. Increase weights and repetitions as muscles get stronger, and make sure to incorporate upper and lower body exercises. Here are a few exercises that a great for seniors and will improve strength and mobility over time.


A Final Word...

Even though it might sound intimidating at first, strength training has a multitude of benefits for people of all ages from improved sleep to reduced risk of age-related diseases.

Of course, if your senior is new to resistance training, then it’s important to start slowly and increase the difficulty over time. In Montgomery County, your senior loved one can even join a Bone Builders class, which will allow them time to socialize as well. The most important thing is to get started, and remember, it’s never too late!

Would your senior loved one benefit from expert adult day care in a warm, welcoming environment? The healthcare professionals at Northeast Adult Day Care can provide skilled care, monitoring, and social interaction for your loved one! Reach out to learn more, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..