When you get older strength training is what your body needs to combat the loss of bone mass, muscle, and strength that comes with age.
Everyone should be doing some kind of regular strength training no matter how old or young. This may be at the fitness center, or at home using hardly any equipment. Small hand weights, resistance balls and bands, water and even your own body weight can be used as resistance when making a strength training program.
So what’s the point of starting now if you’ve never participated in a strength training program? Below are a few very important reasons strength training is important in your quality of life:
- Improves your stability and balance: As your muscles becomes stronger and more resilient, the more balance is sturdier. This will help keep you safe in your day to day activities and lowers the chance of falls or accidents.
- Improves your ability to do everyday activities: The stronger your muscles, the easier it is to do the things you usually do each day.
- Building-up muscle strength: Adults after the age 20 lose between five and seven pounds of muscle every ten years. Strength training assists in preventing this muscle loss, and rebuilds what you might have lost.
- Reduces blood pressure: Strength training could be beneficial in preventing and treating high blood pressure by conditioning the heart, allowing it to beat more efficiently.
- Increases calorie burn: Strength training escalates the body’s metabolic rate, making the body to burn more calories throughout the day. This aids in long term weight loss significantly.
- Lowers the risk of osteoporosis: Inactivity and aging can result in a decrease in bone density, resulting in brittleness. Studies show that consistent strength training can increase bone density preventing osteoporosis.
- Reduces low back pain: Research shows that strength training can alleviate low back pain and increase low back strength.
Time spent on strength training can actually help you feel younger and turn back the clock each day. Below are a few principles to keep in mind when putting together a program:
- Begin by strength training 2 times/week, building up to 3 times/week to get more of a challenge. Be sure you have at least one day of rest in between each session.
- Start with 2-3 exercises each for upper body and lower body and 1-2 core exercises (lower back, abdominal muscles). A samples of exercises could be found in the Fitness Resource Center.
- Begin with one set of each exercise (12-15 repetitions- slow and steady), using resistance bands, light hand weights, or your own body weight. While you progress, you could work up to 2 and then 3 sets.
- When you add additional sets, rest 30 seconds to one minute in between each one.
- During the exercises, never hold your breath. Regularly exhale when exerting force (on the hard part of the movement).
- Always warm-up before and stretch before and after every session.
- Pay attention to proper technique and form, as they are extremely important in preventing injury and producing results.
- When choosing a weight, it must be heavy enough that you are feeling the muscle working and the difficulty will increase as you get to the 15th repetition. The weight should be light enough that 15 repetitions can be done without pain or breaking proper form.
- Strength training shouldn’t be painful! Stop the exercise immediately if you experience pain.
You have a lot to gain from regular strength training no matter what your age. Just remember to seek advice from your doctor before starting any exercise program. It is one of the most crucial actions you can take to ensure your independence for many years to come.