Strength training is an important form of exercise at any age, but it is especially beneficial when you head into your senior years. When strength training is done properly, it doesn't take up much time, yet you derive lasting benefits from it. You naturally lose muscle mass as you age, and you lose it even faster when you're sedentary. Strong muscles improve your balance and help you be more active as you age. Here's a look at how strength training helps seniors and how you can start.
Why Strength Training Is Helpful For Seniors
As you lose muscle mass when you get older, it is often replaced with fat. By doing strength training exercises, you can build muscles and lose fat. The exercises help your metabolism, and the effect of fat burning lasts long after you've stopped exercising. Strength training also makes your bones stronger, and this can be very beneficial as a senior.
Strong muscles help your balance and help you recover quickly if you trip, but if you do fall, you reduce the risk of breaking a bone if your bones are strong due to strength training. Strength training can also help you feel healthier and stronger, and that can make you feel like staying active, so you avoid isolation and depression from loneliness.
How You Can Start Strength Training
Strength training is safe for seniors, but you have to approach it properly. First, get clearance from your doctor, especially if you have a medical condition. Then, hire a personal trainer to teach you how to do the exercises properly. If you've been sedentary a long time, you need to start slowly and work your way up to lifting heavier weights.
There are different types of strength training exercises. You can use your own body weight for exercises like push-ups and squats. You can also use weights like dumbbells or weight machines at a gym. Proper technique is important for avoiding injury and for getting the best results from your effort. Proper weight is important too.
Your personal trainer can guide you toward the right weight to use to start and when to add more weight. Your muscles should tire out during each session, so using the heaviest weight that is safe for you and doing fewer lifts might be better than lifting lighter weights more times.
You don't need to buy a gym membership to begin strength training if you don't want to. You don't need to buy expensive equipment for home use either. Dumbbells are not expensive, and you can even use resistance bands if you prefer. You don't even need those as long as you do the right variations of exercises that rely on body weight. However, investing in a personal trainer is worth it to help you avoid injury and to learn the right way to exercise for your level of fitness.