Why It’s Important To Do Resistance Training As You Get Older

Why It’s Important To Do Resistance Training As You Get Older

As we get older, it's easy to feel like our bodies are slowing down and not as capable as they used to be. But the truth is, no matter your age, you can still gain strength and improve your health. One of the best ways to do this is through resistance training. We're talking about exercises like weight lifting, using resistance bands, or doing bodyweight exercises like pushups and squats. Resistance training provides huge benefits for older adults, and it's something everyone over 50 should be doing.


Improved Muscle Strength

As we get older, our muscles naturally start to lose strength and mass. Resistance training is key to combating this and keeping our muscles strong and functional as the years go by.

Resistance training, also known as strength or weight training, involves using weights or resistance bands to challenge your muscles. You can use dumbbells, resistance bands, weight machines, or your own body weight. The key is to start light and build up gradually. We do 2-3 sessions a week, with rest days in between for the best results.

Some of our favorite exercises include:

  • Squats: Great for leg strength and balance. Just hold a chair or wall for support.
  • Chest presses: Lie on your back with dumbbells and push up. Works your chest, shoulder and arm muscles.
  • Rows: Bend at the hips with knees slightly bent and pull dumbbells up to the sides of your torso. Works your back muscles.
  • Shoulder presses: Hold dumbbells at shoulder level and push up above your head. Works your shoulders and arms.

The benefits of resistance training are huge for older adults. Stronger muscles mean better mobility, flexibility, balance, and stamina. It also means fewer injuries and less disease. My husband and I are living proof that it's never too late to start. Give it a try - your body and mind will thank you!


Better Balance and Coordination

Balance and coordination naturally start to decline as we get older. But resistance training can help slow down and even reverse this process.

  • Resistance training, like weight lifting, helps strengthen our muscles and bones. Stronger muscles and bones mean better stability and less risk of falls. Even basic exercises with resistance bands or light dumbbells a few times a week can make a big difference.
  • Resistance training also improves our proprioception - our sense of where our body is in space. As we age, this sense starts to dull, but resistance training helps sharpen it again. We can feel more in control and confident in our movements.
  • Doing squats, lunges, seated rows and other resistance exercises helps keep our joints flexible and mobile. Resistance training increases the range of motion in our hips, knees, and ankles, making it easier to get up from a chair or climb stairs.
  • Balance exercises, like standing on one leg or heel-to-toe walking, are also important. Start with a chair for support and build up your balance over time. Even just standing on one leg while brushing your teeth or waiting in line can help.

In the end, resistance and balance training can help us stay independent and active as we get older. We'll be less prone to falls, have an easier time with daily activities, and be able to do more of the things we enjoy. Our bodies may age, but that doesn't mean we have to slow down. Resistance training is one of the best ways for older adults to stay in shape and maintain an active lifestyle.


Increased Bone Mineral Density

When we lift weights, the stress on our bones causes them to strengthen and become denser over time. This is especially important for older adults, as bone density peaks around age 30 and then starts to decline. Resistance training can help reverse this trend and even build new bone tissue.

Activities like weight lifting, bodyweight exercises, and resistance band training put stress on our bones through impact and tension. This stress stimulates the bones to absorb calcium and other minerals from the bloodstream, making them stronger. Over time, resistance training can significantly improve bone mineral density, reducing the risk of fractures and breaks.

  • Weight bearing exercises like squats, lunges, step ups, and calf raises are especially helpful for building hip, spine, and leg bone density.
  • Upper body exercises such as rows, shoulder presses, and lat pulldowns will strengthen the bones in your arms, shoulders, and back.
  • Start with just 2-3 pounds weights and build up slowly. Even small weights can provide enough resistance to stimulate bone growth when you're first starting out.

The key is to start light, build up gradually, and aim for 2-3 strength training sessions per week, with rest days in between for the best results. Be consistent and stick with it - increased bone density and strength can take 6-12 months of regular resistance training to develop. But the benefits to your long term health and independence will be well worth it.

Resistance training offers so many benefits for older adults, from increased strength and balance to improved cardiovascular health. But building stronger, denser bones may be one of the most important benefits of all. Stronger bones mean greater mobility, less risk of injury, and the ability to stay active and independent for life.

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Improved Mental Health

Resistance training offers huge benefits for our mental health and cognitive abilities.

Improved Mood

Resistance training releases endorphins that act as natural mood boosters and stress relievers. Studies show regular weight training can decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression in older adults. We've all heard of the "runner's high"—well, there's also such a thing as "lifter's calm."

Better Memory

Weight training also increases the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory. As we age, the hippocampus naturally shrinks, so resistance training can help combat age-related memory loss and cognitive decline. Studies found older adults who did weight training a few times a week had significant improvements in visual and verbal memory.

Sharper Thinking

In addition to boosting memory, resistance training enhances other cognitive functions like processing speed, attention, reasoning, and problem-solving. Weight training increases blood flow to the brain, which provides more oxygen and nutrients to support optimal brain health and performance. Studies show older adults who do regular strength or weight training tend to have higher "executive function," which includes skills like planning, organizing, and multitasking.

Improved Self-Confidence

As we get older and our bodies change, it's common to experience a loss of strength, balance, and flexibility which can impact our self-esteem and independence. Resistance training helps combat age-related muscle loss (sarcopenia) and frailty, allowing us to maintain strength and function. This in turn boosts our self-confidence in being able to do daily activities on our own and avoid injury or falls. Studies show weight training in older adults is associated with significant improvements in self-esteem and self-efficacy.

In summary, the mental and cognitive benefits of resistance training for older adults are substantial. Along with the well-known physical perks like increased strength and bone density, weight training offers major advantages for both the health and independence of our aging minds. Resistance training truly is a fountain of youth for the body and brain.


Slowed Age-Related Muscle Loss

Our muscles naturally start to deteriorate in a process called sarcopenia. Resistance training with weights is one of the best ways we can slow down age-related muscle loss and maintain strength and mobility.

Preserve Muscle Mass

Lifting weights puts stress on our muscles, which responds by building bigger and stronger muscle fibers. This helps offset the muscle breakdown that happens as we age. Studies show people over 50 who do resistance training 2-3 times a week can gain 1-2 pounds of muscle each year.

Improve Strength

Stronger muscles make daily activities easier and help us stay independent as we get older. Squats, lunges, rows, and presses are examples of exercises that build strength in our legs, core, back, chest and shoulders. Even using lighter weights with more repetitions can provide benefits.

Better Balance and Coordination

Exercises that challenge our balance and range of motion, like single-leg stands, step ups and torso twists, help maintain flexibility and stability. This lowers the risk of falls, which is especially important for older adults.

Additional Benefits

Resistance training also provides other advantages like:

  • Improved joint mobility and flexibility
  • Better posture and spine health
  • Improved mood and cognition from the release of endorphins
  • Higher metabolism and fat burning potential

The key is to start light, build up gradually, and focus on proper form. Resistance training is safe and effective for people of all ages, so don't be afraid to start a weight training program. Your muscles will thank you, and you'll feel stronger and healthier overall. Consistency is key - aim for 2-3 sessions of 30-60 minutes per week to get the benefits. The rewards of resistance training are well worth the effort.



So there you have it, folks. Resistance training is one of the best ways for older adults to stay strong, mobile and independent as the years go by. Whether it's weight training, bodyweight exercises or resistance bands, building and maintaining muscle is key. The benefits are huge - improved bone density, better balance, increased stamina, and a lower risk of disease. And the best part is you can start small and build up gradually. So get out there and give it a go. Talk to your doctor, find a certified trainer, and start pumping some iron. Your future self will thank you for it. Stay strong and keep inspiring us!


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