You don’t need to balance on a ball, but consider this: did you know that strength training is an extremely important and effective form of exercise – especially for those over 50? While many people only do a cardio workout, it’s important to mix up your type of exercising so that your body can benefit from a variation, just as you do with your diet (hopefully)! No, we aren’t telling you to go and start bench pressing or lifting weights, but research shows there is a lot of credibility to adding some type of strength training to your daily routine- the benefits far outreach the risk. Here are five reasons why.*
1.) Save Your Muscle
As a person ages, their muscle mass gradually decreases over time, and their general strength goes with it. When performed safely and properly, weight training will help prevent and even restore lost muscle mass and strength that typically comes with age.
2.) Improve Your Balance and Flexibility
Flexibility and balance decline with age, partially due to the natural loss of muscle mass. This is why falling is common as we grow older. Lifting weights can greatly improve balance by re-training the muscles to better react to unstable environments, helping to prevent falls. It can also improve flexibility by getting the body to move through the complete ranges of motion in the basic movement patterns.
3.) Preventing Bone Loss
Bone density decreases are common with age, especially with women. Strength training requires many weight bearing exercises that slowly help rebuild and maintain bone tissue. This helps decrease the risks of osteoporosis and bone fractures and breaks.
4.) Correct and Prevent Poor Posture
The decline in muscle mass as a person ages can also create postural issues leading to back and neck pain. By doing the proper resistance exercises to strengthen weakened muscles and correct imbalances, posture can be corrected and maintained.
5.) Enhance Energy Levels
A person’s metabolism also slows down along with aging, which is an effect from the decrease in muscle mass. By strength training, muscle mass will be restored creating a higher metabolism. This will make a person feel like they have more energy and can get through the day without feeling like they need a nap.
Patience is a Virtue
Strength training for persons over 50 is beneficial, but results will not happen overnight. It is important to start off slow and progress at a pace that works best for you. If strength training is completely new, take the time to learn how to lift correctly to prevent injury and maximize your results. If you put the time and effort in, the results you want will come and your body will thank you.
*Article portions reprinted from https://www.vagusfitness.com/blog/2016/11/21/the-importance-of-strength-training-over-50