Aging is associated with various functional and physiological declines that contribute to increased frailty, falls, and disability. While there is no way we can reverse or halt the aging process, some strength training exercises can minimize the risk of developing conditions like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or Alzheimer’s that occur due to decreased muscle mass and bone density. Even for seniors with such illnesses, building strength is crucial and can improve their quality of life.
The Top 5 Benefits of Strength Training for Older Adults
Your body changes as you age and in ways that you don’t like or expect. Even normal, healthy aging includes; reduced muscle strength or mass, increased body fat, stiffer joints, slower metabolism, and reduced bone density. Here are some of the top five advantages associated with consistent strength training for seniors:
1. Strength Training Exercises Increase Muscle Mass
By the age of 75, the average person will have lost a quarter of their muscle mass. And this is mostly due to inactivity and disuse. All seniors exercises can reverse this loss and build muscle mass, but strength training, resistance training, and weight lifting are the best.
Sarcopenia and osteoporosis are two common conditions amongst the elderly that degrade muscle and bone integrity, respectively. Both the muscular and skeletal systems are responsible for your body’s movement, form and stability. Strength training improves both muscle and bone health and reverses the effects of such illnesses.
2. Senior Exercises Improve Functional Movement
Regular strength training exercises can help the older adults walk farther, gain more mobility, and even minimize the need for assertive devices like walkers and canes. Such training exercises for seniors also assist with other functional movements like getting in the bathtub or sitting. This opens up access to more physical activities and makes life easier for seniors.
3. Reduces the Signs and Symptoms of Chronic Conditions
Seniors with chronic illnesses can benefit from a fitness program that incorporates strength training a few days a week. For instance, regular strength exercises help to improve glycemic control for seniors struggling with diabetes. They also help reduce lower back pain by strengthening your abdominal muscles, thus minimizing your spine’s pressure.
4. Strength Training Benefits your Mental Health
Just as important as physical fitness in older adults is mental health. Getting older can put your life at high risk of isolation and depression, loneliness, and other mental health problems. Strength training exercises increase mobility and improve overall health, boost mood, and overall quality of life.
5. Longer Life Expectancy
According to Penn State College of Medicine researchers, seniors who maintained a bi-weekly strength training routine had a longer life expectancy and lower mortality rate than their sedentary counterparts. That’s not to mean that any form of workout is not helpful; however, conclusions suggest that seniors’ strength training helps improve functionality and mobility.
What Are the Best Strength Training Exercises for Seniors?
Improve your body strength with these 25-minute total body strength training exercises tips for older adults:
Pushups are the most effective strength exercises that you can incorporate in your regimen. They target your arms, chest, shoulders, and back; however, it takes a decent amount of enthusiasm to complete multiple reps correctly. Here are some steps to follow when doing a standard wall pushup:
- Stand arm’s distance from a wall with the feet under your hips.
- Put your palms on the wall shoulder-distance apart at the height of your shoulders.
- Bend your elbows and start to lean your body toward the wall until your nose touches it. Make sure your back remains straight, and your hips don’t sag.
- Push back to the initial position and repeat.
- Complete at least four sets of 10 reps every day.
Building strength in your upper body through wall pushups is a gradual process that can take years or months, but the results are worth it.
Shoulder and upper body exercises can help to enhance function, but can also reverse deterioration and muscle loss associated with aging. Shoulder rolls are one of the most effective training exercises that help to improve your mobility and function. To perform this exercise, follow the simple steps outlined below:
- First, stand or sit, with feet shoulder-width apart and weights in your hand
- Raise your shoulders around the ears
- Bring the shoulders down and backward
- Do 10-20 repetitions
Here is an excellent workout for an essential group of muscles in your body. It is known as the hip bridge, and it concentrates on the muscles located on the backside of your body, particularly the lower back, hips, and upper legs muscles. These muscles work together when you are picking something off the ground or going upstairs. Here is how you can do this senior exercise:
- Lie on your back with your hands apart, knees bent and your feet flat on the floor under your knees.
- Raise your knees to create a straight line from your shoulders to knees.
- Pull your belly towards the spine and squeeze your core.
- Hold for at least 30 seconds and then return to your initial position.
Toes-Stand Exercises for Seniors
This lower body exercise will help make movement easier for the elderly as it strengthens your ankles and curves. It will also help to improve your balance and overall functioning of your body.
Squats for Senior Citizens
Squats are great exercises for seniors as they can increase and strengthen flexibility in your calves, knees, and glutes. Start with the feet hip-distance apart, your toes pointing forward. Allow your body to lean slightly forward and engage the abdominals as you bend the knees as if you are sitting down. Hold for five seconds and return to the starting position.
If you need more tips on senior exercises, kindly book an appointment with a licensed and experienced personal trainer today.
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