How Weight Training for Seniors Helps Build Stronger Bones and Improves Posture
Believe it or not, weight training isn’t just for bodybuilders who spend hours pumping iron every day. In fact, there are numerous benefits of weight training for seniors, including improving muscle tone, promoting better balance, and combating osteoporosis.
What is weight training?
If you’ve heard the term “weight training” but you’re not sure exactly which activities fall into this category, you’re not alone. Weight training actually encompasses more exercises than many people realize. Weight training is a form of strength training that uses increasing amounts of weight as resistance to work your muscles, ultimately making them stronger.
However, weight training doesn’t always involve lifting weights, at least not in the traditional sense.
In fact, when you’re first starting, you may not use any weights at all; your own body weight provides a degree of resistance. Simply moving and flexing your muscles is a good starting point for low-impact weight training for seniors. Other examples of easy weight training for seniors might include low-impact exercises like push-ups against a wall, crunches, and even sitting and standing are also examples of weight training that use your body for resistance instead of weights.
When you’re ready, you can add one- or two-pound hand weights. Resistance bands and weight machines at a gym are other ways you can continue preventing muscle loss while building your strength.
Benefits of weight training
Muscle strength plays an important role in mobility, but as you age and become more sedentary, your muscle tone begins to fade. With less muscle tone, your movements become less fluid and your balance is compromised, which puts you at greater risk of falling.
Engaging in low-impact weight training for seniors can help you prevent muscle loss while improving your overall physical condition and balance. Weight or resistance training can also help improve your posture, thereby reducing back pain and improving circulation, lung function, and digestion.
Among the many benefits of weight training is the feel-good endorphins you get from exercise, which makes weight training a natural antidepressant. Other potential benefits include the added energy you’ll enjoy from regular physical activity, lower blood pressure, and help managing your weight.
More physical activity is also commonly associated with lower risk for a wide range of diseases and conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and many forms of cancer.
Weight training and osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a common disease affecting seniors that results in weak, brittle bones. Strength training, along with weight bearing and posture exercises for seniors, can help reduce bone damage and injury risks while improving bone density.
Where to begin
Before starting any new fitness program, it’s a good idea to talk with your doctor. Once you get the go-ahead, remember to start slow and easy, and listen closely to your body so you can stop if you become too uncomfortable.
Most trainers recommend focusing on specific muscle groups during a workout. This allows muscles to rest and recover between workouts so you don’t cause injury. Weight training for seniors often begins with the legs since they have such a significant impact on your overall mobility and balance. Other important areas to focus on in resistance training for seniors include the hips, as well as the arms and back, which play an important role in your upper body strength, core strength, and posture.
Get Fit Among Friends
Weight training can be done on your own—even from the comfort of your living room. However, you’ll probably find you’re more motivated and committed to regular exercise when you join your peers. At Springpoint, our robust fitness programming and resources—including state-of-the-art weight training equipment, a wide range of group classes, and trainers who specialize in senior fitness—help you stay fit and active.