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Strength Training in Aging Adults

When we think of strength training, we don’t think of the ways it will impact our day-to-day lives. It is even more important for aging adults to start a strength training program. As adults age, basic movement becomes much more difficult. People retire, they are less active, and they have fewer reasons to get up and out of the house. So they sit all day and their muscles atrophy.

That’s why it’s so important need to stay active as we age. We need to find or stick to an exercise routine to preserve our independence for as long as possible—not just for our own sakes but also so our children won’t have to take care of us (or pay someone else to).

The exercise needs of the aging population vary by degree, not kind. What is standing up from the toilet? An air squat. What happens when someone lifts something overhead? A shoulder press. How do groceries get unloaded from the car? With a farmers carry.

Aging adult athletes may not be breaking gym records, but they can certainly perform modified versions of everything the rest of the class is doing—and a good coach will know how to guide them. Intensity is relative for every athlete in the gym, while range of motion and movement goals stay the same.

Strength training is also critical for aging adults because it helps prevent and reverse osteoporosis (brittle bones). Even minor slips and falls often result in broken bones in aging men and women with low bone density. Lifting heavy objects increases that bone density and reduces the risk of injury.

Group fitness classes may or may not be appropriate for all aging adults. At Flex Appeal, we have several 50-plus-year-old athletes, and they do great in classes. We even have a class dedicated to women ages 50-75.

“As a never athlete, I had no idea what kind of movement I could or should do to improve my situation. I had no vocabulary to identify the muscles that hurt and no clue how to make the pain stop. With all my issues, I could not just hop on a treadmill and fix myself, although I did try.” -Sandra

To learn more about our strength training classes, book a No Sweat Intro here.

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