Physical activity is essential for healthy aging. According to the CDC, adults aged 65 and other should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week. It is also recommended that all adults do a form of strength training that hits all of the major muscle groups at least two times per week. Chronic diseases and conditions are classified as the leading causes of death in the world today. The good news is that many chronic diseases are preventable by living an active and healthy lifestyle. Any amount and form of physical activity is better than none at all, but strength training has been proven to provide significant health benefits for most of the population– especially older adults, as regular strength training can counter many age-related processes.
So, what are the benefits of muscle-strengthening activities for older adults?
- Reduces age-related muscle and strength loss
- Increases bone density and reduces the risk of osteoporosis
- Increases independence and vitality with age
- Reduces the risk and symptoms of numerous chronic diseases
- Benefits mental health
Reduces Age-Related Muscle & Strength Loss
Sarcopenia is an age-related loss of muscle mass, which often results in weakness and frailty in older adults. Strength training has been found to help slow and reverse this process. Physiological adaptations from regular strength training include but are not limited to: increased muscle strength, increased muscle mass, increased muscle power, and increased neuromuscular functioning.
Increases Bone Density & Reduces the Risk of Osteoporosis
Weight-bearing exercises have been proven to increase bone density. It is important to remain active enough to ensure that a sufficient amount of stress is being placed on skeletal system. Consistent physical activity places an adequate amount of stress on the body to maintain consistent bone remodeling. Stronger bones can prevent common fractures, such as femur, lumbar, and hip fractures.
Increases Independence & Vitality with Age
Strength training programs have been found to improve coordination and movement confidence, which decreases the likelihood of falling or other movement-related injuries. Functional benefits of strength training include but are not limited to: improved mobility and movement quality, improved performance in activities of daily living, increased psychosocial wellbeing, and resistance to falls and other injuries.
Reduces the Risk & Symptoms of Numerous Chronic Diseases
A sedentary lifestyle is one of the biggest causes of developing a chronic health condition. Primary prevention of chronic diseases should be prioritized before secondary prevention is needed. Physical activity is an important part of both primary and secondary prevention. Regular exercise (when cleared by a physician) is a proven way to prevent chronic disease and improve the quality of life for those who suffer from chronic disease.
- Heart disease – reduces cardiovascular risk by improving lipid profile and overall fitness.
- Diabetes – improves glycemic control.
- Arthritis – reduces pain and stiffness while increasing strength and flexibility.
- Obesity – increases metabolism, which helps burn more calories and improves long-term weight control.
- Back pain – strengthens back and abdominal muscles to reduce stress on spine.
Benefits Mental Health
Strength training can provide many major mental health benefits. When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins, which are hormones that reduce pain and make you feel happy! Regular exercise can also help lower and control your heart rate and blood pressure, which can cause a reduction of stress and anxiety. Additional benefits include improved sleep regularity and quality, boosted self-esteem, and boosted sense of wellbeing.
Are you ready to get started? Contact us or stop in the gym today to learn more!