The Power of Strength Training for Aging Adults
Celebrating Older Americans Month-Physical Health
Strength training has been proven to have many benefits, particularly for older adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), strength training helps reduce the symptoms of many chronic conditions and diseases, including diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, falls, and obesity.
Research has shown that strength training helps with:
- Better balance and reduction of broken bones from falls
- Bone strengthening
- Heart health
- Glucose control
- Weight control
- Quality of sleep
- Reduction of depression
- Arthritis relief
Restoration of Balance and Reduction of Falls
As people age, poor balance and flexibility leads to falls and broken bones. These fractures can result in significant disability and, in some cases, fatal complications. Strengthening exercises, when done properly and through the full range of motion, increase a person’s flexibility and balance, which decrease the risk of falls. One study in New Zealand in women 80 years of age and older showed a 40% reduction in falls with simple strength and balance training.
New guidelines from U.S. Health and Human Services suggest that older adults need to perform muscle-strengthening activities at least two days a week to work all major muscle groups. These include your legs, arms, shoulders, hips, back, abdomen, and chest.
A Strength Training Program from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control)
Growing Stronger is an exercise program based on scientific research involving strengthening exercises—exercises that have been shown to increase the strength of your muscles, maintain the integrity of your bones, and improve your balance, coordination, and mobility. Also, strength training can help reduce the symptoms of many chronic diseases, including arthritis.
Regular physical activity is not only fun and healthy, but scientific evidence strongly shows that it’s safe for almost everyone. And the health benefits far outweigh the risk of injury and sudden heart attacks, two concerns that prevent many people from getting more active
Some people should check with their doctor before they get started. Experts advise that if you have a chronic disease, such as a heart condition, arthritis, diabetes, or high blood pressure, or symptoms that could be due to a chronic disease, it’s important that you’re under the care of a doctor and talk to him or her about the types and amounts of physical activity that are best for you.
Consider sharing these tips with a senior adult you care about, or starting up a strength training program yourself.