One thing we can never escape is aging. It is an inevitable process of life that started the day we were born, but it doesn’t mean that we have to accept physical decline as we head into old age. One of the most effective ways to hinder that decline and maintain body function as we get older is through strength training.
Strength training, also known as resistance training, involves working against an opposing force to build muscle strength, endurance, and size. It can include exercises such as weight lifting, resistance band training, and bodyweight exercises. Unlike cardiovascular exercise, which primarily benefits heart health, strength training focuses on muscle strength and function.
If you’re not already doing strength training, it may seem like a boring habit to begin. However, after learning about the importance and benefits of strength training for your body as you get older, perhaps you’ll change your mind and maybe even become enthusiastic about starting.
Understanding the Aging Process
As we age, our bodies naturally lose muscle mass, bone density, and joint flexibility. The speed at which this happens varies from person to person but is usually more pronounced in those who do not engage in any physical activity. The natural decline of muscle, also called Sarcopenia, can begin as early as our 30s and can accelerate with age. It occurs as you get older because the rate at which your body produces new proteins decreases and therefore causes a decrease in muscle growth. Strength training can help to slow down this process by increasing muscle mass and density, which in turn helps your body remain functional as you age.
Reducing Fall Risks and Preventing Osteoporosis
Those who are 65 years old or above have a higher risk of falling, but this risk can be lowered significantly by improving balance and coordination through strength training. Additionally, strength training can help prevent or manage osteoporosis, a disease that weakens bones, by improving bone density. This means that regular strength training can reduce the chances of fractures that often occur due to falls.
Benefits to Cardiovascular Health
Strength training can also have positive effects on cardiovascular health, such as reducing blood pressure and improving lipid profiles. By increasing muscle mass, strength training can help increase metabolism, which can aid in weight loss and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Aging is an inevitable process, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t remain physically fit and active as you age. Strength training is one of the most effective ways to promote physical health and prevent decline in older adults. The benefits of strength training are even more numerous than we’ve listed here and should be taken seriously to ensure that you remain healthy and active for as long as possible. Before beginning a strength-training program, be sure to consult with your physician or certified trainer to understand the best exercises and equipment for you. It’s never too late to start; hopefully, this helps encourage you to start making strength training part of your weekly routine!