Strength training, also known as resistance training, is a form of exercise that uses resistance to contract muscles in order to build strength, anaerobic endurance, and muscle size. As people age, strength training becomes increasingly important for maintaining physical function and independence. Here are some of the top reasons why adults 'past their prime' should start (or continue to) strength training:
Increased muscle mass and strength: As we age, we naturally lose muscle mass and strength. This is a process known as sarcopenia. Sarcopenia can lead to a decreased ability to perform daily activities, increased risk of falls, and a greater chance of becoming physically disabled. By building and maintaining muscle mass and strength, strength through training it can help combat sarcopenia.
Improved bone density: A common concern for older adults is osteoporosis. It is a condition characterized by low bone density and an increased risk of fractures. Strength training can help improve bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis-related fractures.
Better balance and coordination: Falls are a leading cause of injury and death among older adults. Strength training can reduce the risk of falls by helping improve balance and coordination.
Reduced risk of chronic diseases: Strength training has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Improved mental health: Strength training has been shown to have a positive impact on mental health, including reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.
It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any exercise program, especially if you have any health concerns or limitations. Additionally, having the right trainer and strength coach is vitally important. They will make sure you have appropriate type of training, frequency, and intensity of exercise for your individual needs.
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National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging. (2015). Exercise: A guide from the National Institute on Aging. Retrieved from https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/exercise-guide
American College of Sports Medicine. (2009). ACSM’s guidelines for exercise testing and prescription. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. (2020). Exercise and physical activity for older adults. Retrieved from https://www.aaos.org/conditions/exercise-physical-activity-older-adults
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). Older adults and falls. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html