Why Strength Training is a Must for Everyone

Think you’re too old to start a strength training program? Think again! Strength training is just what your body needs to fight the loss of muscle, bone mass and strength that comes with age.

Everyone, no matter how young or old, should be doing some kind of regular strength training. This could be at the gym, or at home using very little equipment. Resistance bands and balls, small hand weights, water and even your own body weight can be used as resistance when designing a strength training program.

So what’s the point? If you’ve never participated in a strength training program, why start now? Here are some very important reasons strength training makes a difference in your quality of life:
  • Improves your ability to do everyday activities: The stronger your muscles, the easier it is to get groceries out of the car, get a package off of the top cabinet shelf, push the lawnmower…..the list goes on and on!
  • Improves your balance and stability: The stronger and more resilient your muscles, the more sturdy your balance. This will help keep you safe in your daily activities and decreases the risk of falls or accidents.
  • Builds muscle strength: Adults lose between five and seven pounds of muscle every decade after age 20. Strength training will help prevent this muscle loss, and rebuild what you may have lost.
  • Decreases your risk of osteoporosis: Inactivity and aging can lead to a decrease in bone density, leading to brittleness. Studies have shown that consistent strength training can increase bone density and prevent osteoporosis.
  • Reduces blood pressure: Strength training can be beneficial for the prevention and treatment of high blood pressure by strengthening the heart, allowing it to beat more efficiently.
  • Increases calorie burn: Strength training increases the body's metabolic rate, causing the body to burn more calories throughout the day. This aids significantly in long term weight loss.
  • Reduces low back pain: Research has shown that strength training can increase low back strength and alleviate low back pain.<pagebreak>
Time spent on strength training can literally help you turn back the clock and feel younger each day. Here are some principles to remember when putting together a program:
  • Start by strength training 2 days/week, building up to 3 days/week for more of a challenge. Make sure you have at least one day of rest in between each session.
  • Start with two to three exercises each for lower body and upper body and one to two core exercises (abs, lower back). 
  • Start with one set of each exercise (12 to 15 repetitions, slow and steady), using light hand weights, resistance bands or your own body weight. As you progress, you can work up to two and then three sets.
  • As you add additional sets, rest 30 seconds to a minute in between each one.
  • Never hold your breath during the exercises. Always exhale when exerting force (on the hard part of the movement).
  • Always warm up before and stretch before and after each session.
  • Pay attention to proper form and technique, as they are very important for injury prevention and producing results.
  • When selecting a weight, it should be heavy enough that you feel the muscle working and the difficulty increasing as you get to the 15th repetition. The weight should be light enough that you can do 15 repetitions without pain or breaking proper form.
  • Strength training should never be painful! If you experience pain, stop the exercise immediately.
No matter what your age, you have a lot to gain from regular strength training. Just remember to consult your doctor before starting any exercise program. It is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your independence for many years to come.
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Member Comments

Never too old Report
Awesome...thanks.
! Report
I started strength training over 30 years ago. I turned 60 this year. As we age, we lose muscle mass. Do yourself a favor....start strength training if you haven't already. Report
THANKS Report
I love strength training!!!! Report
PLCHAPPELL
You make a good case. Report
I know I should, but.... Report
Thanks Report
My favorite exercise! Report
Started crossfit at age 60 (2013). Oct 2018 began fasting 18:6 (fasting 18 hrs, eating 2 meals during 6 hr window). Muscle mass increased, while % body fat decreased. It's never too late. Longevity is the reward. Do it! Report
Great motivation to strength train. Thanks! Report
CHANGESFORGOOD
Great! Report
Thanks for sharing. Report
A lot of information to think about Report


 

About The Author

Jen Mueller
Jen Mueller
Jen received her master's degree in health promotion and education from the University of Cincinnati. A mom and avid runner, she is an ACE-certified personal trainer, health coach and medical exercise specialist, with additional certifications in behavior change, functional training and senior fitness. She is also a RRCA-certified running coach. See all of Jen's articles.