Seniors and Weight Training
Seniors should not weight train and lift weights because it is incredibly dangerous for them to do so. This is something that many people say to me. Some are everyday people, some are seniors, and some are even fitness professionals. I’m going to clear up all of that today, and address if weight training for seniors is truly dangerous. Be prepared as you probably have never considered this.
Why Should Seniors Weight Train?
Improved Body Strength
Before asking if lifting weights is harmful and dangerous for seniors, we need to address why a senior might want to start resistance training to begin with. You may or may not know, but weight training actually improves the overall strength in a muscle. Seniors who have been sedentary for most of their lives are lacking a lot of strength in their entire body, making resistance training a reasonable activity to consider. This added strength in their body can help them to perform activities of daily living, such as getting off the toilet, getting out of bed, and walking up stairs, much easier. But that’s not the only thing.
Improved Bone Mineral Density
For seniors concerned about developing osteoporosis, weight training is one of the best things you can do for it. Lifting weights provides the bones a needed stimulus, giving them a reason to rebuild and get stronger. Women are at a particular risk for developing osteoporosis, making weight training a viable option. And if that isn’t a good enough reason, there is one more.
Improved Metabolic Health
Lifting weights can help your heart health, and blood sugar control tremendously. Lifting weights, although not directly cardio, can actually give your body some cardiovascular benefits. In addition to this, when you lift weights and build muscle, the muscle acts like a sponge for sugar in your bloodstream. This means that if you are diabetic, it can actually help to control your blood sugar better AND even get rid of your diabetes!
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Is it Safe?
So all of those reasons for seniors to lift weights are great, but if it isn’t safe, there really isn’t any point in doing them. Here’s what you need to know. Lifting weights is incredibly safe for most individuals, including seniors. You to have to consider one big thing. This is simply how strong the individual is, and how familiar they are with specific movements. I have worked with seniors who have been able to deadlift 185 pounds off the ground no problem. I have also worked with seniors who can barely get out of a chair with assistance. I wouldn’t have the person who can barely get out of the chair, deadlift 185 pounds, because he isn’t used to the load and movement. I would practice doing very light deadlifts with 5 pound dumbbells, because that is their current level of strength.
One Last Thing
If you are a senior and interested in trying out a daily low impact exercise program, we created an excellent one below. Otherwise, you can check out our playlist of low impact strength workouts as well.
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