We know that physical activity is important to healthy aging, but what type of exercise is actually beneficial for older adults? Different types of exercise can enhance your quality of life, and you should try to incorporate various activities into your routine. For example, strength training can be especially beneficial for aging adults without being overly strenuous.
The Woodlands at Canterfield is a brand-new assisted senior living and memory care community in West Dundee, Illinois, and our team knows the importance of staying active. We want to encourage you to get moving by sharing the benefits of strength training for seniors.
Please Note: Consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new exercise program.
Benefit 1: Maintain Muscle Mass
As we age, “muscle mass decreases approximately 3-8% per decade after the age of 30 and this rate of decline is even higher after the age of 60,” according to an article published in the National Library of Medicine. This occurrence is referred to as sarcopenia and is thought to be primarily caused by disuse or an inactive lifestyle.
However, research has shown that regularly participating in strength training exercises can help combat this decline and enable individuals to maintain muscle mass and strength.
Benefit 2: Improve Balance and Lower Risk of Falls
There are a number of factors that increase our risk of falls as we grow older but being unstable and lacking strength are among the top concerns. Fortunately, strength training can help improve balance and lower a person’s risk of falls. In fact, one study found that combined strength and balance training can reduce the risk of falls by up to 50%.
Benefit 3: Reduce Symptoms of Chronic Conditions
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “strength training can also reduce the signs and symptoms of many diseases and chronic conditions,” such as arthritis and osteoporosis.
By participating in regular strength and resistance training exercises, you keep your joints moving. This can reduce pain and stiffness, increase flexibility, build bone density, and lower levels of inflammation.
Benefit 4: Manage Weight
Another benefit of strength training for seniors is that it can help individuals manage a healthy weight. Part of the natural aging process is a slower metabolism, but performing strength training exercises can increase your metabolism, helping you burn more calories and manage your weight long-term.
Many people do not realize that cardiovascular exercises, like running, help you burn calories and fat during exercise, but as soon as you stop, so does your caloric burn. On the other hand, “weight and strength training burn calories and fat for a longer time post-exercise than lower intensity aerobic exercises.” This means that your body will continue to use energy to burn fat even after performing strength training exercises.
Benefit 5: Improve Mood and Mental Health
In addition to bettering your physical health, strength training can also benefit senior mental wellness. During exercise, the body releases endorphins. These endorphins are known as the “feel-good” hormone and can help counteract feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression.
Practice Strength Training Safely
As previously stated, before making any changes to your fitness routine, it is important to talk to your doctor. They understand your health history and any conditions you may have which may be aggravated by certain activities. Furthermore, they can guide you on which exercises would be best for you.
It’s also vital that you listen to your body. Motivating and pushing yourself is one thing, but overexerting or straining yourself is dangerous and can lead to injury. If something does not feel right, stop doing the exercise. You know your body best, and only you can determine how far to push.
Staying physically active is an integral part of leading a healthy lifestyle, and strength training is one way that you can do this. At The Woodlands at Canterfield, we offer several opportunities for residents to enhance their quality of life and focus on their physical and mental wellness.
To learn more about our assisted senior living and memory care community in West Dundee, Illinois, visit our website or contact a member of our team.