Bodybuilding for the elderly | live healthy

As you age, you are likely to lose bone and muscle mass and even mobility. But you don’t have to sit passively, allowing that to happen. You can fight the effects of aging through exercises such as strength training. Although lifting weights may seem intimidating, these exercises will strengthen your body and your confidence. With a few sessions per week and with the approval of a medical professional, you can live a healthier and stronger life.

Prevents falls and fractures

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year postmenopausal women lose up to 2% of their bone mass. This puts the elderly at risk of bone fracture in the event of a fall. Strength training can offset this in two ways: strength training restores balance and prevents falls – and strength training increases bone mass. The stress of weights places sufficient load on the skeletal system to form new bone. For best results, older adults should lift weights heavy enough to allow you to complete six to 11 reps before your muscles fatigue, according to the National Association of Sports Medicine. It can take up to six months to see results.

Maintain muscle mass

As your body ages, it naturally loses muscle mass. Additionally, after age 50, this amount of muscle mass loss accelerates, according to the National Strength and Conditioning Association. This contributes to weight gain because muscle burns more calories than other body tissues. Strength training promotes weight maintenance by slowing muscle loss and burning calories during training.

Keeps joints healthy

When done correctly, strength training improves joint range of motion. These types of exercises also protect the joints by strengthening the muscles. According to the Mayo Clinic, the more muscle mass you have, the more your joints are protected and supported. A word of warning: if you have joint pain or swelling, take a day off from strength training. The Mayo Clinic suggests resistance training every other day for joint health.

Training guidelines

Seniors should consult a personal trainer who can demonstrate proper exercise technique. A personal trainer can also act as a spotter to prevent injuries. If you have no strength training experience, start with weight machines, recommends the American College of Sports Medicine. You can switch to free weights such as dumbbells as your comfort and skill level increases. Examples of free weight exercises include bicep curls and barbell squats. These exercises can also help build strength for activities of daily living such as sitting down, standing up, and lifting grocery bags. For best training results, the ACSM also suggests performing up to three sets of 10-15 reps per exercise. You should also train at least two days but not more than four days. Be sure to wait at least 48 hours between sessions to promote muscle growth and recovery.

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