The Benefits Of Resistance Training

Staying physically active at any age is important for overall health and well-being. According to the CDC, more than 30 million adults over the age of 50 are considered physically inactive. This inactivity can negatively impact the immune system and cardiovascular health, and the associated muscle loss and a reduction in bone density can lead to injuries. Recent statistics indicate that seniors who incorporate strength training (also known as resistance training) into a physical fitness routine just twice per week will live more than 45% longer than those who don’t. Read on to learn more about the benefits of resistance training and how to incorporate it into your workout routine.

Resistance Training Benefits
The health benefits of aerobic activities such as walking, running or group exercise classes has been well-established for some time, but strength training has garnered new attention in recent years - particularly for those 50 and older.. Resistance training is a form of physical exercise that uses a variety of tools (such as free weights, machine weights, resistance bands or body weight) to help build muscle strength, mass, tone and endurance. There are common misconceptions that strength training is only for bodybuilders and athletes, or that strength training will result in bulky, unattractive muscles. The reality is that strength training may also be used to simply shape and tone, can be done at many levels so it is appropriate for almost everyone and is a great way to stay healthy. 

During the process of resistance training, small, microscopic tears are created in the muscle. These tears then regenerate, building strength and muscle mass. Resistance training increases mobility and balance and addresses many issues that people over the age of 50 may experience. Some benefits of resistance training are:

  • Prevention of Bone Fractures. People over the age of 50 are more prone to accidents and bone fractures due to bone loss and a reduction in balance and mobility. Regularly performing weight-bearing exercises helps to build muscle mass which can help prevent a fall and be protective if a fall or bump does occur.
  • Improvement of Functional Movement. Studies show that older adults who perform strength training have greater endurance and can walk farther distances than those who don’t. Strength training makes everyday tasks like getting up from the couch, climbing out of the bathtub and climbing stairs easier. It also can negate the need for canes or walkers in the later years.
  • Addressing Weight Gain. Weight gain can lead to a number of health issues including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, Diabetes and more. Strength training helps regulate glucose levels and boost metabolism, thereby helping stave off weight gain that can occur with age and inactivity.
  • Improvement of Balance Issues. Strengthening core muscles through resistance training can help stabilize the body and prevent slips and falls that can occur as a result of balance issues.
  • Providing a Boost to Mental Well-Being. Physical activity can help improve mood, fight anxiety and depression and generally make people feel more empowered. Incorporating resistance training into a fitness routine can help participants feel stronger and more energized and generally better prepared to tackle daily challenges. 

Getting Started with Resistance Training
If you’re thinking about starting a resistance training program, it’s important to work with a qualified fitness trainer who can create a program that’s right for you. Like any new exercise regime, it’s probably best to start small with one session per week, and work up from there. It’s also often advisable to start with bodyweight exercises (think squats and lunges) before moving onto weights or resistance bands. Also, be sure to leave sufficient time for warm-up and cool-down stretching. 

The right community can help you get your fitness routine off on the right foot and keep it on track. Echo Lake residents enjoy a vibrant and active community complete with tailored lifestyle and fitness programs, healthy dining options and a strong sense of community.  Contact us to learn more about our luxury retirement community. We even offer virtual tours.