When you think about weightlifting, you likely picture a brawny young man (perhaps even an Arnold Schwarzenegger-type bodybuilder). You might also think about intimidating gyms, huge dumbbells, and intense personal trainers. With this vision in your mind, we can’t blame you for avoiding weightlifting yourself, especially if you’re in your sunset years. But in fact, building muscle is extremely important at this stage of life, and there are many valuable benefits of weightlifting for seniors.
Benefits of Weightlifting for Seniors
It can reverse muscle loss.
Muscles naturally weaken with age. If you don’t exercise them regularly, you risk losing your active and independent lifestyle. Fortunately, it’s possible to reverse muscle loss by performing a few simple exercises on a regular basis. And don’t worry – it’s never too late to start! The American College of Sports Medicine recommends weightlifting for all people over the age of 50 and notes that even people in their 90s can benefit. In fact, a study of nursing home residents between the ages of 87 and 96 found that muscle strength increased by 180 percent after eight weeks of weightlifting (source).
It can ease your ability to perform day-to-day tasks.
You might assume that weightlifting won’t benefit you because you rarely need to lift heavy objects. However, resistance training can actually help you in your day-to-day life. For one thing, it can improve your ability to walk. A study conducted by the University of Vermont found that after 12 weeks of weight training, a group of healthy seniors between the ages of 65 and 79 could walk almost 40 percent further without resting (source). In addition, it can help you perform basic necessary tasks, like carrying groceries, getting up from a chair, lifting a laundry basket, or going up stairs. This is one of the best benefits of strength training for seniors, because you likely aren’t aware of all the different ways it could improve your daily life.
It can prevent broken bones.
Did you know that bones are living tissues that can grow, transform, and repair themselves over the course of your lifetime? One of the best ways you have to build bone density is strength training. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), by lifting weights and performing resistance exercises, you can reduce your risk of osteoporosis. This will also lower your risk of dangerous falls.
It can relieve arthritis pain.
If you suffer from arthritis, you may be tempted to limit your daily movements to limit your pain. However, this plan can actually backfire and cause more pain. To increase your strength and flexibility, support and protect your joints, and ease stiffness and pain, try strength training. According to an article published by Harvard Health Publishing, arthritis sufferers who wish to reap the benefits of strength training should use the following tips for best results:
- Work with a physical therapist or personal trainer to develop a personalized plan.
- Schedule workouts for times of day when your pain and stiffness levels are low.
- Warm up before workouts with a few minutes of walking and stretching.
- Balance rest and exercise carefully if you have rheumatoid arthritis.
- Only perform exercises within a comfortable range of motion.
Whether you call it strength training, resistance training, or weightlifting, we encourage you to exercise regularly to build muscle and bone and preserve your strength and independence. At the Crossings at Riverview, our rehabilitation company, Legacy, can supervise technique and provide support to residents who wish to begin a weightlifting routine.
Are you looking for a relaxing place to retire near Riverview, Florida? Overlooking the Alafia River on twelve beautiful acres, the Crossings at Riverview offers a relaxing atmosphere, and our talented team is committed to cultivating a welcoming and vibrant community. We invite you to tour our community, meet our friendly staff, and see our amenities first-hand. Our goal is to make our community feel like home for all of our residents. To schedule a tour, contact us online. We look forward to meeting you!