Strength Training and Aging
Aging is commonly associated with decreased mobility, strength and energy. This frailty is largely due to a “decline in function of muscle mass.” (Morley, 2016).
According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, “regular physical activity is essential for healthy aging.” Dr. Miriam Nelson with Tufts University also emphasizes that “strengthening exercises are essential to staying strong and vital during older adulthood.”
What is Strength Training?
Strength training, also referred to as resistance training is an activity that challenges “a muscle or a muscle group against external resistance“ (American College of Sports Medicine). Older adults should aim for at least 2 non-consecutive days of strength training per week and include all major muscle groups (see recommendations).
Muscle mass naturally decreases with age. However, engaging in consistent strength training can slow the process. Other benefits include:
- Increase muscle mass and strength
- Increase bone density
- improves ability to complete daily living activities
- Assists in managing arthritis pain and joint swelling
- Lowering blood glucose
- Reducing fall risk (lower body strength training improves balance)
- Helps in weight control (strength training leads to a higher metabolic rate, up to 15% which means you will burn more calories)
It is important to practice safety and learn the proper techniques for strength training to avoid injury.
Resource for safe and effective strength training:
Always consult your healthcare provider before starting a new exercise program.