The Benefits of Strength Training for Older Women
So, What Is Strength Training?
Strength training (also known as ‘resistance training’ or ‘weight training’) is a type of physical activity in which your muscles contract against external resistances like weight machines, bands, dumbbells, bodyweight, etc., thus helpingyou improve your muscular strength, muscular mass, and endurance. In simple words, the basic principle of strength training is to overload the muscle until it adapts to it and gets stronger! This form of exercisealso reduces the signs and symptoms of many health conditions including arthritis, chronic back pain, depression, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Strength training also helps in weight loss as it helps the body continue to burncalories for hours even after you have finished exercising.
Why is Strength Training Important for Older Women?
- Our bones lose minerals as we age, and as a result, tend to become fragile and weak. This condition is called‘osteopenia’, and it increases the risk of fractures including hip fractures, arm fractures, and ankle fractures. People who have osteopenia are at a higher risk of having ‘osteoporosis’. Studies have shown that approximately 2.2 million (or 11.9%) Canadians, 40 years and older were living with diagnosed osteoporosis; among which about 80% were women. The risk of diagnosis doubled every five years between the age of 40 years to 60 years.
- ‘Sarcopenia’ is another condition in which the muscle mass shrinks as we tend to age. Such conditions can be prevented and managed by strength exercises. This form of exercise can help strengthen the muscles, ligaments, and tendons which surround the joints. Stronger muscles provide better support to the joints and lessens pressure on them, and thus helps in preventing falls which is the main cause of fractures.
- Global News recommends strength training for improved posture, quality of sleep, and energy levels. Strength training releases endorphins, powerful chemicals in our brain that help inimproving our mood, reduce negative effects of stress, and help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Things To Consider Before Starting Strength Training?
- Always consult a doctor before starting your program.
- It is always best to start with slow and simple activities like squats, lunges, hinges, push ups, dips, and presses.
- Avoid pushing yourself to the point of pain. Decrease the intensity of your workout if you start feeling soreness.
- Make the most of your warm-up session.
- Begin with 1 or 2 sets with at least 10 repetitions, and slowly progress to 3 sets.
Additional Tips for Best Results
- Train twice or thrice a week with one day of rest between each day.
- Exercise the main muscle groups in the body such as arms, chest, back, and abdomen.
- Make the most out of your strength training session by doing at least two sets of each exercise.
- Take a break of about two minutes between each set.
Where Can I Look for Strength Training Programs?
Check around your community for strength training groups or sessions, recreation centres, city recreation programs, and community health or resource centres. Fitness centres, senior’s facilities, online strength training programs, and some educational institutions offer group or individualized strength training programs that will help youget started and provide support in leading a healthy and active lifestyle.
If possible, chat with your doctor before beginning any new exercise program. Speak with a doctor online from the comfort of your home. Meira Care’s virtual care clinic is open 7 days a week from 8am – 9pm.
Disclaimer: The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.