Everyone knows the importance of regular exercise, but the type of exercise you do matters as well. Strength training is an essential part of any workout routine, and this is especially true for older adults; after age 50, you lose 1-2% of muscle strength every year, increasing to 3% after age 60. In addition to protecting against age-related muscle loss, strength training can alleviate the symptoms of arthritis, diabetes, and depression, while also improving balance, sleep, and mobility.
As an active senior living community in California, Ventura Townehouse recognizes the importance of staying fit during retirement. In this article, we’ll explore how older adults can start weight training in a safe and healthy way.
If you’re new to strength training, you’ll want to start with the lightest weights available. Keep sessions short – 10 to 15 minutes is enough. Limit weight training sessions to 2 or 3 nonconsecutive days per week. Spacing them out is necessary to allow for adequate recovery time; many people like to alternate between cardio days and strength training days.
Warmup and recovery
Aside from the exercise itself, don’t forget about two other key components of any workout: warmup and recovery. Spend at least 4 minutes warming up, and give yourself one day off to rest at minimum each week. Remember to listen to your body; even if you’ve always been active, it’s normal to need more time to warmup and recover as you get older.
Types of exercises
You don’t need any fancy equipment to start weight training. Exercises such as squats, lunges, and push-ups are a great place to start. Holding small weights can increase the difficulty of these exercises, but such equipment isn’t always necessary, as your body’s weight can provide enough resistance on its own.
Talk to your gym about meeting with a personal trainer. Many gyms are beginning to hire specialized fitness trainers for older adults, and they can help you learn to use strength training machines safely and effectively. Trainers can also provide personalized recommendations and guidance on how to reach your fitness goals.
Adding strength training into your exercise routine doesn’t have to be intimidating, no matter where you are in your fitness journey. The benefits of resistance exercises are endless, and it’s never too late to start improving your strength and health.
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