Aging With Strength
Senior Strength Training Is Essential
If you’re over fifty and you ask your doctor what you should be doing for exercise and fitness, the most common answer is some manner of walking. Around the block, around a lake, or around town.
And while walking does have its benefits, it does not place a sufficient demand on the body to provoke the improvements that are necessary for healthy, functional aging.
It seems we’ve been treating our aged population as if they are no longer able to adapt to the physical demands of the world. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
The Importance of Strength Training As We Age
So why strength training? What’s so magical about this modality, and why is it so important? Well, for starters,
- Resistance exercise helps regulate your hormones
- Demanding muscular work helps you burn fat efficiently
- Resistance exercise improves the way your cells function, how much lean mass you have, how healthy you are, and how long you live.
If there were a pill that you could take that had all of the above effects, you’d have a billion-dollar product. But this isn’t all that strength training can do. While these are great effects for everyone—the fifty-and-up crowd included—there are more health benefits of strength training as you age.
There is good data to show that strength training helps you regain lost bone and muscle, helps keep your cholesterol levels under control, reduces your blood pressure, and even helps you avoid low back pain.
If you’re interested in digging deeper into the research around this topic, and what resistance exercise can do for people, please check out our Ebook where the studies to prove these benefits are explored at length.
But Wait, There’s More!
That’s all fantastic, but this is the most important study ever done on resistance exercise and aging: “Resistance Exercise Reverses Aging in Skeletal Muscle.”
As unlikely as this may sound, this study revealed that strength training can actually reverse the aging process. A group of seniors was put on a resistance exercise program and by the end of the study the researchers observed hundreds of genes that had reverted back to a youthful presentation and function.
So, the cells inside the older people from the study epigenetically changed to function more like young people’s cells. This is the importance of strength training as you age.
To sum up, strength training can help your genes to express as more youthful versions of themselves, helping you to stay youthful even during the later stages of life.
How to Boost Your Strength As You Age
So you’re convinced, you’re on board, you get it. But since there’s no pill or injection to give you all these benefits, how can you do it?
Here are some workout tips for strength training as you age:
- Perform resistance exercise not less than once each week. This is the only way to apply meaningful levels of force to the bones and muscles to produce the aforementioned adaptations.
- Move slowly during exercise. All things being equal, slower movement during your strength training is less likely to cause injury. You can obtain all the health benefits of strength training without moving quickly.
- Limit the range of motion. There is little to be gained at the extremes of the range of motion for any given movement that isn’t already accomplished in the middle of the range, and more safely. You can obtain all the health benefits of strength training without using the extreme ends of the ranges of motion during exercise.
- Use lighter weights and deeper levels of fatigue. Lighter weights are safer, while deeper levels of fatigue help to stimulate greater improvements in metabolic health as you age.
- Record your progress. You must progressively overload the muscles by using heavier weights over time. Without this record-keeping, you may begin to regress.
Or, you could simply choose the best way to retain lean mass and bone density as you age:
- Find and make use of ARX
ARX automatically addresses each of the tips above. With ARX the speed is safe and controlled, the range of motion for each movement is established in the computer down to the hundredth of an inch, the “weight” responds to the user and is never too much or too little, and the software automatically records every second of every exercise through a dozen different metrics.
Shine Up Your Golden Years
So the next time your doctor tells you that walking around a few times per week will keep you from losing bone and muscle as you age, nod politely and remember that you are responsible for your continued physical fitness and health.
Walking helps you avoid a sedentary lifestyle, which is good. But only resistance exercise can help you completely avoid the bone and muscle loss associated with aging.
If you have access to ARX, your problems are solved very easily. If you don’t, there are simple yet effective strategies for safely loading your body with meaningful levels of resistance, like slow-movement strength training, ideally under professional supervision.
With just a little bit of focused work, you can continue to thrive.
For more information, please visit ARXFit.com and join the community on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.