Older People Benefit From Resistance Training

Older People Benefit From Resistance Training male or female

Since I have been moving some of my older posts across from my older blog to my new space, I decided to only re-post my favourite articles. I think some of them might retire now 🙂 Here is one of my favourite stories. I found it very curious and cannot wait to share. Enjoy and feel free to share your opinion & experience 🙂

I say elderly people benefit from resistance training as much as youngsters and here is it why…

I have always been admiring those senior people in the gym, working out as hard as younger attenders. I have never seen so many older men and women in the gym as I have in Sydney. Whether they are hard core gym junkies or low intensity gym participants, they look younger and healthier than same age people spending their free time at home in front of the TV.

Many people often find exercising difficult, time consuming and unexciting. In addition, not so obvious results, such as better blood flow,stronger bones, postponed heart decease, can often be discouraging. It simply seems that we do not have improvement in our health because nothing happens. Therefore fitness seems to be a waste or time, money ad energy. Of course apart from better breathing, better overall feeling, easier stairs climbing etc., in fact, this “nothing happens” is a great deal of improvement of our lives. When we finally do not feel pain in our joints, when heart is not racing as we rushing up the escalator, when coughing and hard breathing vanish, we often underestimate such improvement which is a result of regular fitness.

Older People Benefit From Resistance Training

As we grow older, we find more excuses not to exercise and, in fact it is harder to start fitness lifestyle especially as soon as we hit the third decade of our lives. We often have no time, too busy at work, too tired after a long day in the office, cant be bothered spending our only weekend on fitness, often too busy with kids, fiends, studies and many other live situations. However, what is more important: our work or our life? No one wants to face such dilemma. Therefore work & life balance is one of the new business concepts which I believe anyone can adopt in their lives. Now, cardiovascular health improvement is not the only advantage of fitness. Our bones require regular exercise. How often our grandparents and even parents complain about the pain in the back or knees or neck? My parents used to often say that exercising was damaging for my knees, for example. I believe that would still think so and advise me to stay away from intense fitness. However, if you are 15 years old, 50 or even 70, moderate regular exercising routine can make your bones serve you longer. I personally struggled with horrible back pain and discomforting knees pain most of my teenage time. I have never been very active;however always tried to participate in sport. As mentioned earlier, my family would not encourage my sport endeavors at the time hence I have never really gotten into fitness serious enough. I am coming from a fitness discouraging society & culture where you do not want to look weird hence give up on your sport ambitions fairly quickly. However I am grateful to observe a very different culture where sport plays a large part in most of the people’s lives. Although I am not proposing intense weight training or marathon preparation; I am absolutely convinced that more psychically active life is a highly beneficial one especially when you get oder. I am an absolute believer that we need to contribute into our health at the earliest age possible simply because it is often much harder to maintain the fitness level  when get older. Cracking necks, constant knees pain, low density bones and much more must be a great motivator for many people to devote some time of their lives to fitness, and resistance training in particular.

Now, according to osteoporosis and bone related decease center, bone (just like a muscle) is a living tissue that responds to exercise by becoming stronger. We need stronger bones! Young women and men who exercise regularly generally achieve greater peak bone mass (maximum bone density and strength) than those who do not. For most people, bone mass peaks during the third decade of life. After that time, we can begin to lose bone(!). Women and men older than age 20 can help prevent bone loss with regular exercise. Resistance training allows us to maintain muscle strength, coordination, and balance, which in turn helps to prevent falls and related fractures. This is especially important for older adults and people who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis. Not to mention, fitness is your solution to such problems as heart trouble, high blood pressure, diabetes, or obesity.

Older People Benefit From Resistance Training fighting age

Of course starting to exercise when reaching your 30s might seem a little frighting. First of all, listen to your body. Soreness and slight discomfort will always be a part of exercising. However your body will adjust and get used to. If you have osteoporosis, ask your doctor which activities are safe for you. If you have low bone mass, experts recommend that you protect your spine by avoiding exercises or activities that flex, bend, or twist it. Furthermore, you should avoid high-impact exercise to lower the risk of breaking a bone. You also might want to consult with an exercise specialist to learn the proper progression of activity, how to stretch and strengthen muscles safely, and how to correct poor posture habits. A great tool to consider before approaching fitness is Body Composition Analysis & Bone Density Analysis. Those kind of checks will show you the percentage of the body fat, muscle and bone density in your body. whatever your goals are, you are in safer place if you know your body well. Most importantly, do not fear fitness! Similar to learning how to cook when our mothers show us useful tips or we follow the recipe, we learn about fitness. As long as you are willing to adopt new skills and new habits your body & health will repay you with longer and painless living.

It is not a surprise that muscle strength declines as people age. But studies report that when people exercise they are stronger and leaner than others in their age group. Joints require motion to stay healthy. Long periods of inactivity cause the arthritic joint to stiffen and the adjoining tissue to weaken. A moderate exercise program that includes low-impact aerobics, power, and strength training has benefits for people with osteoarthritis.The best exercise for your bones is the weight-bearing kind, which forces you to work against gravity. Some examples of weight-bearing exercises include weight training, walking, hiking, jogging, climbing stairs, tennis, and dancing. Examples of exercises that are not weight-bearing include swimming and bicycling. Although these activities help build and maintain strong muscles and have excellent cardiovascular benefits, they are not the best way to exercise your bones.

Weight-bearing exercise is very beneficial for bones in people of all ages, including older people. This approach applies tension to muscle and bone, and the body responds to this stress by increasing bone density. Careful weight training can also be very beneficial for elderly people. In addition to improving bone density, weight-bearing exercise reduces the risk of fractures by improving muscle strength and balance, thus helping to prevent falls. Also, low-impact exercises, such as yoga will increase balance hence reduce the risk of falling.

While many older people avoid exercising due to the fear of breaking bones or complaints that they lack energy, fitness in fact prevents bone breakages & bone loss, improving health & level or energy. Whatever that in fitness that scares older people away is what should drive them into it. If you are not sure whether exercising can be damaging for your bones, ask specialists, ask your doctor or a fit friend. Sometimes people are not so scared of fitness itself but the environment they are ought to be part of if dare to start exercising. For some people, it is a fear of gym, for others it is re-orginising every day routine, for some it is ignoring friends not so pleasant comments about a new hobby… Whatever it is there, there is always a solution which you just need to find for yourself. Personally, I have always been a highly motivated person, or as my parents say stubborn (giggling). If I decided to do something, I do it. The same if I decided to not do something of course. However I also get better day and worse days. In which case, I love reading other people’s stories. I often choose an inspirational person or people who help me to stay on the track when I do not feel like. I also prefer to set certain goals up. However it can be tricky due to people tend to get upset if they don’t reach the goal in time they allocated themselves. I personally believe that not achieved goal is the achieved one. While you are out there, trying your best to stay fit, many other people have not even started hence you are way ahead. They say you never fail till you actually stop.

For some people cardio is a motivational tool which is of course great. However just remember, you need to look at your starting body-fat percentage. If you have a lot of body-fat, then you won’t really see much improvement from cardio because most of the calories from the calorie deficit due to the diet will come from fat anyway, so jogging 500 calories off will have about the same effect as not eating that muffin, and not eating the muffin takes a lot less time. In addition, interestingly there is a study showing that it does not really matter if your jogging or performing high intense interval training, you burn the same amount of calories. I mean that for for example 1 hour jogging will be really the same as 1 hour high intense interval training, body fat loosing wise.

Ernestine Shepherd, the oldest female bodybuilder in the world

Ernestine Shepherd, the oldest female bodybuilder in the world

Now, I am personally a big fan of weight lifting. However many fitness people write about the crucial part of cardio when leaning. Again what they mean is starting to run when stubborn fat is left to be burnt. However I see many people running after weight training and often do the same. Apparently, running will only decrease my energy hence decrease my weight lifting performance. When I started to question running after weight training, I found this post “Should you do cardio after lifting”. And again my own believe fair uselessness or running has been confirmed by someone’s opinion. I will say again, not for everybody it is true. However most people will find it a waste of their time and muscle to get involved with heaps of running. Trying to lose weight by running is a very long and difficult process. There are many other useful tools you could have used instead of wasting your time and energy on something which is most likely to be disappointed at the end. But do not forget, it all depends on your personal goals.


7 thoughts on “Older People Benefit From Resistance Training

  1. I agree because there was an article in my local paper–a few months back–that had shown this one-hundred year old male bodybuilder and he looked great; it just goes to prove that if you live a healthy and active lifestyle, age is meaningless:))

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