What is the Best Way for a Senior to Strength Train?

Strength training for seniors is vital for a healthier, longer life. It helps them stay fit, independent, and reduce symptoms of chronic diseases like diabetes, obesity, heart disease, arthritis, and osteoporosis. Some seniors can be frail and have low energy, but most can keep up with moderate weight training. Many studies show that regular exercises for seniors help build bone and muscle tissue and prevent the weakness that usually comes with aging.

Usually, 150 minutes of moderate endurance activity per week is recommended for adults. This can include cardio or bodyweight exercises to tone your muscles and improve balance and flexibility. Here are some of the benefits of strength training for seniors and tips on how to get started.

Strength train at least twice a week

Strength training helps you get back the muscle tissue you lost and helps your cells stay younger. Exercise doesn’t just make you feel younger; it can slow the aging process in your chromosomes. Include strength training into your exercise routine at least twice a week.

Be gentle on your joints

The goal for adults 50 years old and above is to be smart about training by taking it easy on your joints. Avoid machines that demand you to sit down and stay in one place. You need to get out of the seated position and move more with exercises such as squats, lunges, and hops. Walking or light jogging are also great exercises that are easy on the joints. Do full-body movements that are fun. Most seniors lack enough connective tissues to be able to work out on heavy machines.

Begin with bodyweight exercises 

Before you start lifting extra weight, you should be able to handle your own weight. Strength train on nonconsecutive days and incorporate walking or cardio in-between to have time to rest. These are ‘starter’ exercises since they target the body’s largest muscle groups through movements and improve everyday performance, like climbing stairs or carrying groceries. Besides strength, experts advise seniors to include flexibility, balance, and mobility. These range-of-motion exercises are an exercise approach that consists of a bit of everything. Focus on full-body, multidirectional movements instead of only one muscle group.

Plan extra warmup and recovery time

Proper warmups and cool-downs are crucial for anyone who strength-trains and especially crucial for older adults. This is because seniors heal slower compared to when they were younger. Without a warmup that gets your muscles and joints ready to exercise, you put yourself at risk of pulling a muscle or, worse, spraining something. The cool-down is just as important as it allows your body temperature to cool gradually, prevent blood pooling in the lower extremities, and restore physiologic systems.

Give yourself extra rest days in between workouts. Meditative practices like yoga and tai chi are perfect complements later in life because they increase strength but also calm the mind.

It goes without saying to consult a medical doctor and get clearance before weightlifting. Injuries can happen without any warning! Proper workout gear is also essential, and you can find great options at Inspyrgear!

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