Strength Training for the Elderly
We tend to think that only the youth and virile need to lift weights and build muscle. We think that it’s what you need to do to look good. But we forget about how important strength training is to maintain a healthy heart and strong bones. Obviously, strength training strengthens the muscles – the biceps, the triceps, quads, and so on. Everyone knows that. But it does more than just help with muscle tone. It helps prevent osteoporosis and it also keeps the heart strong and running optimally. For this reason, our Houston doctors beseech the elderly to commit to a regular weight training routine.
The question arises: what kind of workout routine ought the elderly commit to? Low weight, high repetition workouts. On a daily basis. Contrary to popular belief, weight training becomes more important as one ages. It is incredibly important to keep in mind that by the time one reaches the age of seventy, his or her muscle mass will have decreased by twenty-five percent. A light walk around the park is not enough to make up for this degree of weakening. Rebuilding muscle is imperative to prevent injuries. And, as we mentioned, starting off with light weights, wherein one can do 20 or more repetitions, will be of great benefit.
Loss of bone mass is a common sign of aging. Weight bearing exercise, like resistance or strength training, can greatly combat brittle bone formation, even reversing the damage that has already been done. Put great emphasis on strengthening your legs, as without strong legs, your mobility will greatly be hampered. Our doctors at Doctors Clinic Houston highly recommend the following workout routine, on a daily basis. Start with the upper body and then move to the lower body. If you cannot do all of the workouts every day, aim to do them at least every other day. You will not get the necessary benefits of working out if you only do so sporadically.
- Chest Press: minimum 20 reps
- Bicep Curl: minimum 20 reps
- Overhead Press: minimum 20 reps
- Leg Press: minimum 20 reps
- Core Exercises: until exhaustion
Ideally, you want to do each exercise until exhaustion. If you can go beyond 20 repetitions, then do not stop. Continue until you can no longer do another rep. That is the best way to build muscle – when you create tiny microtears in the muscle, provoking them to rebuild even stronger than before.
For the individuals who think physical exercise takes time away from mental exercise (reading, writing, and so on), studies have shown that exercise improves mental clarity, making a person’s mind both sharper and more focused. Think of physical exercise as an investment to not only keep your muscles, bones, and heart strong but your brain as well. Your body and brain will thank you for choosing to strength train.