October 24, 2023 4 min read
Strength training (also known as resistance training) is different from cardiovascular exercises like jogging, swimming, or brisk walking. Strength training forces your muscles to work against outside resistance, improving muscle tone and strength.
Weightlifting is one type of strength training. Other types include using resistance bands or medicine balls, or weight-bearing exercises like yoga.
Weightlifting isn’t just for younger adults. Seniors and older adults can benefit from resistance training, too. Below we explore some of these benefits and offer tips for getting started.
First, it’s important to check with your doctor before starting a strength training routine, especially if you have existing health issues, such as osteoporosis.
Also, consider working with a professional fitness trainer familiar with the needs of older adults. A trainer can tailor exercises to your individual needs and capabilities to maximize benefits while minimizing risks.
Here are 10 benefits of weightlifting for seniors and older adults.
As you age it’s normal to experience a decline in muscle mass. It’s known as sarcopenia, and you can help prevent or even reverse lost strength and muscle mass with regular strength training.
Weight-bearing exercises, including lifting weights, can increase bone density and reduce your risk of osteoporosis. This is especially important for post-menopausal women who are at a heightened risk of bone loss.
Weightlifting improves balance, coordination, and overall stability. This may help reduce your risk of life-altering falls—the leading cause of injury in adults age 65+, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Weight training can make daily activities—from carrying groceries to climbing stairs—less strenuous. Increasing your strength and building muscle mass can help you stay more independent and less reliant on others for help with daily activities.
Regular exercise that includes weightlifting can help you manage chronic conditions like high blood pressure and arthritis. By improving the function of blood vessels, lifting weights may help control blood pressure. It can help reduce the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis.
Lifting weights regularly can improve your mood by releasing endorphins, the body’s natural mood lifters. Regular exercise has been linked to reduced symptoms of depression, better sleep quality, and improved cognitive function.
Numerous studies suggest that consistent physical activity, including strength training, can lead to increased longevity. Beyond living longer, weightlifting can enhance the quality of those years, allowing you to stay active, engaged, and feeling younger than your chronological age.
Weight training—especially exercises targeting the back and core—can improve your posture and alleviate back pain. Strong muscles around the spine provide better support, lowering your risk of strains, sprains, and other common back problems, such as spinal stenosis.
Muscle tissue burns more calories at rest compared to fat tissue. By increasing your muscle mass through weightlifting, you’ll naturally improve your resting metabolic rate. This can help you maintain a healthy weight and even shed unwanted pounds when combined with a balanced diet and other healthy lifestyle choices.
Most people know that exercises like yoga, tai chi, and Pilates are great for improving flexibility. But, when done correctly, weightlifting can also improve the range of motion around joints. Over time, this can lead to increased flexibility and less joint stiffness.
Strength training over 60 can be done safely and effectively. If your doctor gives you the go ahead, start small and work your way up. This can pave the way for a safe and beneficial strength training journey and better muscle maturity over time. Here are some tips to help you get started:
Get the right gear – Getting your form right is vital when weightlifting. But getting a good grip can be challenging, especially as you start lifting heavier weights. Versa Gripps are specifically designed to help you get a better grip on the bar, whether you’re using free weights or weight machines.
Start with light weights – Begin with lighter weights than you think you can handle. This allows you to focus on proper form and technique, reducing the risk of injuries. Gradually increase the amount of weight as your strength and confidence grow.
Focus on full-body workouts – Rather than isolating specific muscles, start with exercises that engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously. Compound exercises, as they’re called, help you build overall strength without overtaxing any single muscle group. A squat with overhead press is an example of a compound exercise.
Prioritize form over repetition – Form is everything in weightlifting. Performing fewer repetitions with correct form is more important than doing a lot of reps with poor technique. Consider hiring a personal trainer or attending beginner weightlifting classes to ensure you’re learning the right techniques from the outset.
Incorporate rest and recovery – As with any type of exercise, your muscles need time to recover after weightlifting. Ensure you have rest days between sessions, especially ones that target the same muscle groups. Listen to your body. If you feel any unusual pain or discomfort, give yourself additional time to recover and see your doctor, if needed.
Designed with proprietary non-slip material, Versa Gripps feature built-in arch support and a quick-release safety feature to help you lift safely—it’s why they’re used by some of the world’s top athletes. Find your perfect pair of Versa Gripps and start your weightlifting journey!
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