Aging well is a goal for most people. As you head into your later years, you may find yourself with less work and more free time. This is something you want to make the most of, and it's easier to do that when you are healthy. Strength training can help you live better and feel stronger. Even if you've never done strength training before, it's easy to get started.
Benefits of Strength Training for Seniors
It's no secret that it gets harder to maintain muscle mass and strength as you age. This is a condition known as sarcopenia and nearly everyone is susceptible to it. Researchers believe that changes in how the brain communicates with the nerves in your muscles are partly responsible. Hormonal changes that come with age are also linked to losing muscle mass.
Thankfully, there is a straightforward treatment for sarcopenia. Most people just need to add some type of strength training to their routines. Exercise will increase the tone and strength of your muscles and improve your endurance as well.
Improving your muscle mass isn't just about looks. Your muscles play an important role in supporting the structure of your entire body. If they are weak, there will be more stress on your bones and joints, increasing the risk of joint problems. You will also start to lose mobility and balance, decreasing your quality of life. Strength training is a great way to delay dealing with these problems.
Most people who start training also report having more energy. Since energy levels also start to drop as you get older, this becomes another way to improve your quality of life well into your later years.
Strength Training for Seniors Starts With Bodyweight Exercises
Sometimes people are intimidated by the idea of strength training. They hear the words and think of a body-building contest full of people with incredibly defined muscles who live in the gym and lift hundreds of pounds in weights. In reality, strength training is much more user-friendly and can be useful for people of every age and fitness level.
Even if you've never strength trained in your life, getting started with strength training doesn't have to be hard. Figure out your baseline and start slow. It's best to look at bodyweight exercises in the beginning. Consider moves such as squats, lunges, standing push ups (or regular pushups if you feel confident in your ability) and other moves that make use of the natural resistance offered by your body's weight.
Once you've gotten used to those exercises, you can add actual weights into the mix. If you have access to a gym or exercise facility, look for the lightest weights to start. It's better to do proper squats while holding 2-pound weights than it is to strain with a very heavy weight and risk hurting or discouraging yourself.
At first, it may feel like you aren't accomplishing much. Don't be discouraged. The simple act of moving will do a lot of good for your body and your muscles. Adding strength or resistance exercises just a few days a week will go a long way in helping you maintain your muscle mass.
Advanced Strength Training for Seniors
Once you feel like you have gotten into a good routine with your basic strength training exercises, you can increase the intensity. Add more advanced exercises to your regimen. Try heavier weights as you feel comfortable. You can also combine moves for more challenging workouts, such as a squat that also has a leg lift element. Rowing, crunches and overhead presses are good progressive moves.
Another way to increase the impact of your strength training is to work with a trainer. It's best to find someone who specializes in working with seniors. A professional can tailor a workout to your needs while respecting your limits. It's important to work with someone who understands the risks that come with being older, including joint problems and weaker bones.
Things To Remember About Strength Training for Seniors
As you explore strength training, it's a good idea to take a few precautions. If this is your first experience with this type of exercise, or if it has been a while since you have worked out consistently, give yourself some grace. You may not be at the level you want to be when you start, but you can work your way up. Steady progress is better than overexertion and will help you build good habits.
Your journey into strength training for seniors should also include a talk with your doctor. Get a checkup to see if there are any big health issues that may keep you from working out or preclude you from doing certain types of exercises. Make sure to share any noteworthy conditions with your trainer as well.
Watch for balance issues that could affect your strength training. Many exercises involve you holding your body up and moving in a controlled motion. Anyone who finds this hard because of balance should find ways to modify the exercise so that it is safe and minimizes the risk of a fall.
Remember to take a well-rounded approach to your health. In addition to strength training, consider a safe form of cardio to integrate into your daily activities. You will also want to assess your diet and decide if a healthy-aging supplement from Juvenon is right for you. What you put in your body has a big effect on how well strength training works since you need the right nutrients to maintain muscle.
Get Started With Strength Training Today
When it comes to improving your health and aging better, there is no time like the present to start. Keeping your body healthy gives you more opportunity to enjoy your life, whether you still work or want to explore the world in your retirement. With strength training, you can stay fit and active for years to come.