There is now no doubt about it. Exercise for older adults has many benefits. It was not too long ago (At least it does not seem that long ago!) back in the 1950’s when doctors felt strenuous exercise for older men and women would stress the heart and cause life threatening damage.
I even remember ads for Camel cigarettes that proudly proclaimed a majority of doctors smoked Camels and recommended them to their patients. A friend’s Mom smoked Kool cigarettes because her doctor said the menthol in the smoke would help her to breathe better when she had a cold!
Well we have come a long way Baby!
For the purpose of this article I am going to focus on strength training benefits for us old folks. Whether you use soup cans, weights, machines, resistance bands (my favorite) or body weight exercises. Strength training for senior men and women is critical if we want to live a vibrant and active retirement. In fact strength training more than any other exercise can turn back the hands of time.
So here are some of the benefits:
These are just a few reasons why senior men and women absolutely should be doing strength training exercises. Along with the above there are improvements in weight loss, arthritis and other chronic diseases. Plus being stronger and healthier helps you to fight off and or recover from illness or accidents.
It really does not matter how old you are or whether you are confined to a wheel chair or bed. Studies in a nursing homes among elderly men showed marked improvements after six months on a strength training program. Those who were using a walker we able to walk with a cane and some even without any assistance. Those who were in wheel chairs now were able to use a walker or cane!
Now obviously these were individuals who aliments were such that strength training could be of benefit and not individuals with conditions that made it impossible to walk. Although I maintain that as we study the effects of strength training on the elderly even seniors with conditions that made them permanently disabled can dramatically improve they lives.
So what are you waiting for? Check with your doctor and work with him on beginning a strength training program. There is a lot of information out there to help you, including my blog aching back blues. You can of course sign up with a gym and get a personal trainer or check with you local senior center or YMCA. Whatever it takes just do it! I promise you a few months from now you will be glad you did!