Why Strength Training Is Important for Seniors

We may think of muscle bound hunks and sinewy, fit young women when we speak of weights and strength training, however recent research has indicated that strength training may be particularly important for the elderly or for seniors.Senior woman doing exercise with a dumbell

The fact is that from the age of 50 years people start to lose a significant proportion of their body’s muscle mass and it has been seen that by age 70, 30% muscle strength is typically lost during this time. This loss can be countered if seniors take to regular strength training, three to four times a week, found the researchers at University of Potsdam, Germany.

Not only does muscle strength increase, the atrophy of muscles that comes with age is also reduced with strength training. This helps the elderly retain mobility and range of movement and also helps them avoid falls and injury.

It is true that the elderly can be of frail health and may also experience lower energy levels however those that take up weight and strength training even later in life, find that they respond very well; to moderate weight training sessions. Weight training for the elderly can have the following positive impacts-
  • The tendons and the bones in the body can adapt to become stronger with weight training.
  • The bones and muscles that are strengthened by such exercise helps to counter the weakness and frailty that older people typically feel.
  • Endurance of the bones and muscles (stamina or the ability to continue to repeat a movement) can also increase with strength training.
  • The symptoms of health problems such as arthritis and osteoporosis can also be eased with strength training.
  • Decline in balance is one of the problems of aging, which is what causes falls and related injuries in the advanced years. Improving body strength can also enhance balance.
  • Improvement in symptoms and assistance in management of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) may also be noted.
  • There may be help in controlling blood sugar and in management of type 2 diabetes.
  • Various aches and pains that can come with old age, in particular those related to the lower back may be eased with weight exercises.

So clearly there are many benefits in strength training for seniors and it is never too late to start unless there are specific health concerns that prohibit this. Get a medical opinion on whether there are any reasons not to start a weights regimen and then make a start that is appropriate given your age and fitness levels.