The Benefits of Strength Training for Seniors

As we age, our bodies tend to naturally lose muscle mass, which can make simple, everyday tasks feel a bit more difficult. However, though muscle mass is a natural occurrence, it can almost always be reversed with strength training. more benefits older adult, strength training is important to help rebuild muscle mass lost over the years, and building muscle comes with more benefits than you may expect.

Two mature women excercising in Edgemeres well-equipped gym.

Fall Prevention

Falls can affect adults of any age, but falls among seniors tend to cause the most injuries since bone density decreases with age. Strengthening your muscles can help prevent falls since a stronger body equates to stronger balance. Balance-focused exercises can be added to a regular exercise routine, too, to improve your stability.

Prevention of Certain Diseases

Some diseases can be lessened or even prevented by those who regularly engage in strengthening exercises. These illnesses include but are not limited to: heart disease, stroke, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, depression, and some cancers.

Strength training often goes hand-in-hand with cardio exercise, and cardio promotes blood flow and healthy breathing. This, in turn, reduces the risk of developing diseases associated with inactivity.

Improved Brain Health

Many recent studies have shown that physical activity may reduce the risk of developing cognitive impairment, dementia, and Alzheimer’s Disease. Strength training for seniors, for example, keeps the brain alert and promotes blood flow to the brain when performed often.

Strength training exercises can also engage and focus the mind and improve memory and mood, which acts as a type of training for the brain as well as your muscles. Many people who exercise regularly with strength training find that processes like planning and organizing are easier to do in their daily lives.

Increased Independence

Many seniors who lose muscle mass over time have trouble walking or performing other daily tasks, such as bathing or cooking. This can make it difficult for older adults to remain independent, whether they want to continue living at home or in an independent living community.

The good news is that muscle can typically be rebuilt at any age, even if an individual has trouble standing or walking. Many simple strength training exercises can be performed sitting or lying down, making it easier to strengthen your lower body without standing. With repeated practice of these exercises, gaining enough muscle to stand and walk again with improved strength and balance is possible.

Strength Training Examples for Seniors

When you think of strength training, you may think of heavy weights or gym equipment. However, older adults can engage in simple strengthening exercises at home with light weights or without any weights at all.

Depending on your current activity level, you may want to consider exercises such as squats, lunges, sit-ups, or push-ups which can be done against a wall. Just 10 to 15 repetitions of these exercises daily can help to improve muscle tone. Chair exercises which incorporate strength training while sitting can be another great option for individuals who may not be able to stand for prolonged periods of time. Lifting one-, two-, or three-pound weights (or even 16 oz. water bottles) while sitting can help strengthen the upper body. Performing small squats while holding on to the back of a chair can help with strength and flexibility for the lower body.

Many senior living communities offer weekly or daily exercise classes that focus on strength training for seniors. At Edgemere, independent living residents utilize the on-site state-of-the-art fitness and wellness center, which offers daily exercise classes and well-being-focused programming to promote an active lifestyle.