“You’re too old for that!” How often have you heard those words? If you’re like most seniors, you’ve probably heard them far too often. This is especially true when it comes to strength training. Conventional “wisdom” would have us believe that seniors “are too old for that.”
Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, it is so emphatically incorrect that I would contend that you’re never too old to begin strength training!
Let’s look briefly at a couple of the benefits…
Lifting weights may help you live longer.
A study of seniors published in the journal “Preventative Medicine” found encouraging correlations between strength training and increased longevity. The study found that those who did strength training had 46 percent lower odds of death by any cause. The researchers also found that strength training reduced the risk of death from cardiac causes by 41 percent and cancer by 19 percent.
Strength training is good for your brain
In a study called SMART (Study of Mental and Resistance Training), researchers compared older adults who participated in intensive strength training with those who did only stretching and chair movements. They concluded that only the group that performed strength training experienced any significant improvements in their cognitive function. In fact, the author commented, “The stronger people became, the greater the benefit for their brain.”
So, strength training can help you live longer and better! These findings are encouraging, and we have barely scratched the surface of the complete list of health benefits.
But if you’ve never done it, how does one get started? As always, consult with your healthcare providers first. Next, find someone with professional expertise and experience training older people. It’s important to have professional and experienced coaching to do it safely.
Best wishes for your increased strength, improved function and
–By Paul Reilly, CSCS, Owner/President, Accelerated Strength & Balance