Strength training isn’t just for bodybuilders and men in their 20s. Dozens of studies have found very real benefits of strength training for elderly people as well. In fact, leading providers of elderly care in Boca Raton have learned strength training may be even more important than aerobic exercise when it comes to helping elderly people maintain a healthy weight and strong bones while managing chronic conditions. Here are 5 very real benefits of strength training for older adults.
1. It prevents age-related muscle loss.
Beginning in our 30s, we begin to lose up to five percent of our muscle mass every decade. This age-related muscle loss is called sarcopenia, and it’s estimated to result in more than $18 billion in direct health care costs every year. Strength training is the safest and most effective way to prevent this muscle loss.
2. It can help prevent falls.
More than 35 percent of seniors fall every year and more than 50 percent of all people over 80. Falls are the most common cause of fractures among the elderly. Strength training has been found to improve flexibility and strength among seniors, making them less vulnerable to falls.
3. It eases arthritis pain.
Strength training builds up lean muscle to support and protect the joints. By increasing strength and flexibility, strength training can reduce joint pain and reduce the strain on joints affected by rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
3. It boosts bone mass and density.
Research has found that strength training can actually prevent bone loss (osteoporosis) and protect bones from osteoporosis-related fractures. Even better, it can help to build new bone over time. This is especially important for older women who are at a high risk of osteoporosis after menopause.
4. It is recommended for diabetes management.
Twenty-six percent of seniors have diabetes, which is the 7th leading cause of death in the U.S. The American Diabetes Association recommends strength training because it makes the body more sensitive to insulin and lowers blood glucose levels.
5. It can help manage heart disease.
For years, seniors with heart disease were discouraged from weight training because it was believed to strain the heart and cause high blood pressure. Research has found that the opposite is true: the American Heart Association recommends strength training for seniors with heart disease as it improves endurance, increases muscle mass, and improves functional capacity.
Before beginning a strength-training regimen, it’s important your senior loved one speaks with his or her physician. If he or she could use support while completing physical activity and implementing other healthy habits, turn to Home Care Assistance. Our friendly Boca Raton caregivers help with a wide range of daily tasks, provide cognitive stimulation, and offer emotional support and companionship. For more information, call (561) 826.9282 today and speak with a friendly Care Manager.