Strength Training for Healthy Living as We Age
Strength training improves a muscle’s size, strength, and density. It also helps maintain steady balance and coordination, improves mood, and generally protects against physical decline that occurs as we age.
In our mid-40s, our bodies begin to experience muscle loss. This muscle loss, when combined with a decrease in bone density that begins in our mid-30s, can lead to weakness, injuries, and poor health we get older. As we approach the age of 50, strength or resistance training is crucial for maintaining the ability to have an active and independent lifestyle. It’s never too late to start a strength training program. Here are the important steps to take when starting strength training.
The first step is talking with your doctor about strength training. Your doctor should have specific recommendations or ideas for exercises that would be most beneficial for you and also any precautions to take.
Next is deciding upon a strength training program. What you choose depends on what you are trying to do. Basically, fewer repetitions of an exercise done with the maximum amount of weight results in bigger muscles, and more repetitions with less weight gives you more muscular endurance. Something in between results in an equal balance of increased strength and increased muscular endurance. The key in this scenario is to work whichever muscles you are training to muscular fatigue; that is, repeat the exercise until you cannot possibly complete one more rep.
How long and how often you strength train depends on where you are starting in your fitness journey. Your doctor may be able to help you determine what’s best. You can also seek out a personal trainer who can help you learn how to properly use the equipment and make recommendations for a strength training routine.
Strength training will enable you to maintain a level of strength, so you can continue to do the things you love.
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