As we get older, going to the gym or working out at home no longer appeals to many seniors. A morning or evening walk works great. But aging is associated with many physiological and functional declines. All of this can contribute to falls, frailty and increased disability. The loss of muscle mass and strength as we age plays a major role in this. According to a 2003 study published by the National Library of Medicine, strength-training exercises can help combat weakness and frailty. This basically means that strength training for seniors has multiple health benefits!
To learn more about strength training and aging, Health Shots connected with Delhi-based certified fitness expert Abhi Singh Thakur.
What is strength training?
Strength training is a form of exercise that aims to improve muscle strength, endurance and overall physical fitness, Thakur explains. The main aspects of strength training are:
The use of external resistance such as heavy objects or your own body weight to challenge muscles, causing them to adapt and grow stronger.
Gradually increase the load or resistance over time to continue to challenge the muscles.
The number of times a particular exercise is performed in a series.
A group of repetitions performed consecutively, followed by a rest period.
5. Rest intervals
The time taken between sets to allow the muscles to partially recover before the next set.
6. Progressive overload
The concept of gradually increasing the intensity or resistance of exercises to allow muscles to adapt and gain strength over time.
7. Compound exercises
Movements that engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously, such as squats, deadlifts, bench presses, rows, push-ups, and pull-ups.
8. Isolation exercises
Target specific muscles individually, such as bicep curls or tricep extensions, calf raises and lateral shoulder raises.
Benefits of bodybuilding for seniors
Strength training becomes more and more important as people get older. Here are some advantages:
1. Muscle strength and mass
As people age, they tend to experience a natural decline in muscle mass and strength (sarcopenia). Strength training can remedy this by
stimulate muscle growth and improve strength, which is crucial for maintaining independence and performing daily activities, says Thakur.
2. Bone health
Older people are more prone to osteoporosis and bone fractures
due to a decrease in bone density. Exercises, especially weight-bearing exercises, can help improve bone health and reduce the risk of fractures by stimulating bone remodeling and strengthening.
3. Balance and stability
Strength exercises that target core and lower body muscles can improve balance and stability, reducing the risk of falls, a common concern among older adults.
4. Joint health
Strengthening the muscles around the joints can help improve joint stability and ease the discomfort associated with osteoarthritis, a common condition in older people.
5. Functional independence
By improving muscle strength and endurance, older adults can maintain or regain the ability to perform essential daily tasks like walking, climbing stairs, and running errands, which contributes to overall functionality.
independence, shares the expert.
Some of the best bodybuilding exercises for seniors include squats, pushups, and lunges.
But note that when seniors engage in strength training, safety should remain a top priority. It is also important to consider fitness level and any underlying health conditions.