BENEFITS OF STRENGTH TRAINING FOR OLDER ADULTS - RAY GOULD, PTA
America is, unfortunately, a sedentary society. According to Dr. Wayne Westcott, who published the book, "Strength Training Past 50" (Third Edition), as many as 80% of men and women in their 50's and beyond have too little muscle and too much fat, leading to obesity, osteoporosis, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, and low back pain. The good news is that muscle loss is reversible and that taking up resistance training can help increase muscle mass at all ages. Below are some benefits of resistance training.
1) Rebuilding Muscle - Studies have shown that performing resistance training just 2-3 days a week for 20-40 minutes can rebuild muscle tissue in people 50 to 90 years of age.
2) Increased Metabolism - Resistance training increases energy use during both the exercise session and the muscle recovery and rebuilding periods afterwards.
3) Reducing Fat - Resistance training, since it increases the metabolic rate, helps to burn fat even when we are at rest. The scale might not change, but if you gain muscle and lose fat, your body composition will change.
4) Lowering Risk of Diabetes - Strength training improves insulin sensitivity and glycemic control after just several weeks of training.
5) Increased Bone Density - Muscle loss is closely associated with bone loss. The good news is that strength training increases both muscle mass and bone mass. Significant increases in bone mineral density have been seen after several months of regular resistance exercise.
6) Improved Mental Health - Numerous studies have shown regular resistance training helps to decrease depression and anxiety. It also improves confidence and a greater sense of well-being.
7) Improved Function - Many studies have shown that strength training has helped to greatly improve the quality of life for many people, but especially the elderly. Being able to get up out of a chair with no assistance, or walking longer distances, climbing steps independently, being able to lift and carry objects, etc., has helped them regain their physical independence so that they do less sitting and stay more active.