Most people taking up exercise for the first time will go straight towards cardio vascular exercises and use the treadmill, exercise bike, cross trainer or rower etc. Although hugely beneficial to the cardio vascular system and seeing people go from couch to 5k we cannot criticise this exercise choice.
Take a look around the gym and it will become obvious that people the age of over 50 are not often seen in the resistance area of the gym. It would help to have a better understanding on how beneficial weight training is for our bodies especially of a certain age, in hope that we can see more of the older adults pumping some weights at our local gym! We aren’t talking body building, purely taking the muscles out of their comfort zone to help with strength and endurance. Resistance training can be done using a prescribed programme or most health clubs tend to have ‘exercise for the older adult’ classes that will incorporate exercises that are specifically beneficial to this age group
From the age of 50, our muscle tissue decreases by 2% every year. Another reason why weight gain tends to be increase as this process is slowing our metabolism down and lifestyle habits don’t tend to change. Brittle bone disease, commonly known as ‘Osteoporosis’ increases especially in women and it is resistance training that can help increase bone density by lifting weights and putting the bones under a little stress from where the muscle pulls.
By strengthening the upper body using basic compound exercises such as chest press, shoulder press, leg extensions and leg curl can also help the aging population get the most out of day to day life. Using free weights can also improve coordination and joint stability. This will help out further in preventing a fall and minimising the risk of injury.
The saying ‘If you don’t use it you will lose it’ is nothing further from the truth. By functionally exercising in the gym and selecting exercises that you know will help you in day to day life can be a massive enhancer to anyone’s life. Getting out of a chair, climbing stairs, pushing doors open, if strong enough can help you maintain an independent lifestyle to a ripe old age.
So if you are a gym user of a certain maturity or if you have a friend or family member that likes to keep active aerobically, why not encourage yourself or these people to start lifting some weights. Even if running or walking, everybody needs the muscular strength to sustain this type of exercise.
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