I’m often asked whether strength training in older women is safe. My answer is always, YES! It’s not only safe it’s extremely beneficial. Whether you’re a man or woman, young or old, fit or out of shape, strength training provides huge benefits. One worry was that some older women are too frail for strength training and if you’re talking about bench pressing 200 pounds, you might be right. That’s not how strength training works. Trainers make sure that each person can safely do each exercise, which for those out of shape, may be as little as one pound weights or even no weights at all at first.
Women lose bone mass as they age.
The problem of bone loss begins with people as they approach 40 and continues at 1% per year as they age, unless they do strength training. There are many studies that show it slows bone loss and even some that shows it can build bone. Strength training not only puts stress on the muscles, it puts stress on the bone. In response, the bone-building cells report for action, which adds bone strength, making them denser and stronger. This can help prevent hip fractures that can occur in the elderly and keep people living on their own longer. It’s never too early or too late to begin weight-bearing exercise.
Weight training can help with pain.
Whether it’s back pain or arthritis pain, studies show that not only does weight training help reduce the pain of arthritis, it also builds the muscles, ligaments and tendons at the joints to improve range of motion and increase pain relief. It improves that abilities of the muscles to reduce the pressure and stress on the joints. Again, starting with light weights is important, which is why trainers are recommended for those with arthritic pain issues. Gradually, people can work toward heavier weights.
People of all ages are helped with strength training when it comes to blood sugar control.
Whether you already have Type 2 diabetes, are borderline or have glucose intolerance, weight training can help you control your glucose level. There are many different studies that show working out helps people with diabetes. Some show dramatic improvements with as little as four months of strength training, plus body fat is often lost and muscle strength is increased. Whether male or female, young or old, strength training helps.
- Falls account for many injuries amongst older men and women. Strength training can help improve strength and balance to prevent it.
- Strength training can help shed weight and boosts metabolism. Obesity is the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States today. It surpassed smoking several years ago.
- Staying viable and active is important. Strength training in seniors helps. It allows people to continue doing their day-to-day activities that let them live on their own.
- Strength training can help people with the ability to walk further. It also improves carriage when walking. One study showed that people 65 to 79 could walk 40 percent farther without shuffling after just three months of strength training.