Categorized | Diet & Nutrition

The Power of Resistance Training in Older Adults

The number of men and women over the age of 65 represents approximately 12.5% of the US population. This growing segment of the population faces multiple age related changes in body composition that can lead to reduced quality of life and ultimately severe injury. As the body ages muscular power, strength, mass, and endurance all decrease. While these changes are taking place the resting metabolic rate decreases, body fat levels increase, and bone mineral density decreases.

These changes can cause deterioration to the extent that daily functionality is impaired or impossible. In these cases taking part in everyday activities increases the risk injuries to the hips, spine, and or wrists. At this point the individual is caught in a vicious cycle, injury is extremely possible with movement, but without movement further deterioration will occur. Reaching this level can be avoided by maintaining a proper level of fitness and nutrition throughout life.

While the potential health risks associated with resistance training for the older adult, OK so you are not an Olympian, will need to be evaluated the rewards of resistance training are nearly endless. Resistance training has been shown to provide older persons significant improvements in muscular strength, power, mass, and endurance while reducing body fat levels. Possibly more importantly bone mineral density has been shown to increase in response to a properly designed resistance training program; the bones adaptation is a multifaceted reaction that requires proper hormonal and nutrition balance for maximum results.

Your life is based around a few basic movements, these movements when put together one after another or used at the same time result in the complex movements necessary for everyday life. An evaluation of your squat, bend and twist your body core, lunge, and walking gait will reveal a great amount of information that a fitness and wellness professional can use to compile a proper training program.

It is my opinion that the average training program for an aging adult should include elements of strength, endurance, and balance training. This combination will provide proper stimulation of the neuromuscular system resulting in the maximum quality of life gains. For the severely deteriorated a program may simply start with basic movement strength exercises, while for the silver Olympian a program may start with advanced balance and strength exercises.

Either level of participant should be able to get great results in or out of a gym, for those of you who do not want to go to a gym there are plenty of fitness tools and toys to provide you an excellent workout at your home, these include a multitude of bands, balls, strings, and balance toys. Proper training should be obtained from a fitness professional before using any of these toys.

Although you may reluctant to start a resistance training program one should realize that the potential benefits of resistance training include improvements to musculoskeletal health that cannot be obtained through other forms of exercise. Regular participation in a properly guided and designed resistance exercise program will reduce the risk of injury while improving self image and confidence. Get out today, find a proper fitness professional, start your resistance training program, you will not regret it!

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