Benefits of Strength Training For Aging Populations

Strength training is important at any age, but for those over the age of 30, the need to maintain and build lean muscle tissue becomes more and more important.

I’m all for other forms of exercise since they each have their benefits. Running, walking, Zumba, yoga -basically anything that gets you moving gets a thumbs up. But there still needs to be a strong focus on lifting weights to build muscle.

Muscle losses that average 0.5 pounds a year after the age of 30 in adults who don’t strength train lead to early frailty and increased fat mass.

You can’t outrun muscle loss. Even active people who don’t strength train still lose significant amounts of muscle mass, and bone losses are parallel. The combination of decreased muscle and bone puts you at risk for fractures due to falls.

The good news is that following this trend can help someone new to strength training lose an average of 4 pounds of fat and gain 3 pounds of lean muscle in just four weeks. The results are expected to continue for the first 12 weeks of strength training.

Building lean muscle mass is not the only benefit of strength training for aging populations. The toll that aging takes on a body extends all the way down to the cellular level. But the damage accrued by cells in older muscles is especially severe because they don’t regenerate easily and they become weaker as their mitochondria, which produce energy, diminish in vigor and number.

A study published this month in Cell Metabolism, however, suggests that certain types of workouts may undo some of what the years can do to our mitochondria.

The benefits of performing weight training are very robust and essential. Let’s take a deeper look into a few other major benefits.

More muscle equals more metabolism 

 The most important reason you should be lifting weights is to lose fat and build muscle. The effect that lifting weights has on your body composition is profound. The more muscle a woman has, the more calories she will burn at rest. So basically, muscles speed up your metabolism, resulting in fat loss.

Bone health 

If you are around the age of 30, you probably aren’t thinking about osteoporosis quite yet, but you should be. Many studies have shown that lifting weights regularly can increase bone density. Other forms of exercises just don’t cut it when you’re trying to keep your bones strong and healthy. The only true way to do this is to lift heavy stuff and put it back down. Be proactive now, so you don’t have problems later.

Strong makes everything easier 

I know I’m only 35 years old, and a fit individual, but I still think about the time when I will need help doing basic human tasks, such as lifting, getting down on the ground, or carrying heavy stuff. I’m a big believer that we can keep our independence as long as we take care of our bodies and can do things ourselves. It would feel great if you didn’t need someone to do everything for you.

Creating independence for yourself is an amazing thing to feel. It always feels great when you accomplish a task that you thought you never could do. Lift some weights, get stronger, and get it done on your own.

Confidence 

Walking into the gym knowing that you are going to crush a workout is such a confidence booster. In the past, older folks were left in the corner with the pink dumbbells or in water aerobics; they were self-conscious and felt out of place in the weight room. In today’s gym atmosphere, I’ve found that most of the aging population can keep up very well with the younger folks. They work harder, push themselves to the limits, and at times have better form.

When an older person realizes her outer strength, she can tap into her inner strength, and that begins to radiate. Confidence is an attractive quality and that gym confidence starts to carry over into every other aspect of life. A strong person in the weight room = a confident person outside of the gym.

The workout program

Now that you have an understanding of why lifting weights is so important, let’s take a look at a 3-day per week program for someone looking to start a solid strength training program. There will be NO pink dumbbells or endless hours on the elliptical machine. This is a true weight-training program that gets the job done.

Make sure to perform a proper dynamic warm-up that includes foam rolling, dynamic mobility, core work, medicine ball throws, and plyometrics. This should be brief, yet effective, and only last 10-15 minutes.

Day 1

  • Goblet squats: 8 reps
  • Push-ups: 8 reps
  • Kettlebell Swings: 15-20 reps
  • 1-arm dumbbell row: 8 reps each side

Perform these in a circuit fashion for 3-5 rounds. Rest as minimally as possible.

Finisher: Perform a Farmers Walk for 3-5 minutes straight. Put the weights down as minimally as possible. Pick a weight that you can carry for 50 meters.

Day 2

  • Deadlifts: 3-5 reps
  • Assisted chin-ups: 3-5 reps
  • Dumbbell push press: 3-5 reps

Perform these in a circuit fashion for 3-5 rounds. Rest as minimally as possible.

Finisher: Burpees – perform 8 rounds of 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off. Try and match your previous round’s rep number each round.

Day 3

  • Inverted Row (TRX Row): 10-12 reps
  • Walking Lunges: 8 reps each leg
  • Dumbbell Chest Press: 10-12 reps
  • Single Leg Deadlift: 8 reps

Perform these in a circuit fashion for 3-5 rounds. Rest as minimally as possible.

Finisher: Perform your favorite cardio exercise as hard as you can for 10 minutes. You can break it up into intervals if you need to. Bike, rower, stair climber, treadmill, etc.

It’s time to lift!

Cardio, pilates, yoga, and step aerobics all have their place in the world of fitness. I’m a believer that you need to enjoy what you choose to do for exercise. But there comes a time when you need to do what’s best for your long-term health and fitness. Lifting weights is the most beneficial form of exercise for everyone to include in their workout program. We all need to build muscle, need to get stronger, and need to increase bone density. The data from studies prove that and the best way to achieve these goals is to throw around some heavyweights. Put away the aerobics steps and pink dumbbells for another time and pick up some heavy stuff and put it over your head. Your body will thank you.

Do you want to learn how to lift weights the right way? Come check us out, we can help!


 

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