By Alena Walrath, PTA
As you get older, strength training may be the last thing that comes to mind, but it’s exactly what you need to lessen the effects of aging. The saying “use it or lose it” is especially relevant when it comes to strength.
Muscle mass decreases as age increases, and this loss of muscle mass is even greater with inactivity. Some studies say that loss of muscle mass can start as early as in your 30’s. The good news is that you can build muscle to improve strength at any age. The secret is to keep moving and choose exercises that use weights, resistance, or your body weight against gravity 2-3 times a week.
Here are some benefits of strengthening exercises:
- Building strength in the muscles of your core and lower body can help to improve balance. This is a growing concern with age because poor balance can lead to falls.
- Your bones will get stronger with weight-bearing and resistance exercises. Adding these exercises to your routine will help to prevent osteoporosis and broken bones.
- Exercise can improve cognitive function and lower your risk of dementia. This is true for all exercise, but strength training is no exception.
So what counts at strength training? Exercises using your body weight against gravity can improve strength, including activities like walking, jogging, push-ups, sit-ups, or yoga. Any exercise using weights or resistance bands also counts as a strengthening exercise.
If you’re new to strength training and need help getting started, contact us. We can address any weaknesses you may have and work with you to develop a home exercise program specific to your needs.