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Strength training for seniors

Strength training for seniors

A balanced diet and exercise, which includes a combination of aerobic activities and strength training, is necessary to maintain long-term health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, regular physical activity is one of the most important things older adults can do to protect their overall health. Exercise helps to delay or prevent many of the conditions that come with age. Adults ages 65 and older should aim for the recommended 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity, such as brisk walking, and at least two days of activities that strengthen muscles.

When it comes to muscle strengthening, seniors can follow these safety guidelines as they embark on their strength-training journeys.

• Speak with a healthcare provider first. Get the green light to proceed with an exercise regimen before beginning by having a discussion with your general practitioner about your fitness goals. Your doctor can recommend strategies that are safe and point out any exercises that may compromise your overall health.
• Master basic exercises first. Anyone new to strength training, which is sometimes known as resistance training, can start out slowly, even using just body weight, to provide resistance. Resistance exercises can include squats, crunches, modified push ups, planks and lunges.
• Graduate to resistance bands. When you’re ready to move on to something else, consider resistance bands as an alternative to free weights. The bands can help you develop good form before introducing weight. Good form is key to avoiding injury.
• Work with a trainer. Working with a certified personal trainer can help you learn how to use free weights and strength-training machines correctly. A trainer also can create a routine that includes the right number of sets and repetitions to gradually build and maintain muscle mass. If you decide against hiring a trainer, gym staff members may guide you through equipment and demonstrate proper form.
• Exercise with a friend. Strength training with a friend or family member can provide motivation and keep you on target to meet your goals.
• Build up gradually. Your first strength session should only last 10 to 15 minutes, according to Tiffany Chag, a strength coach at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. This enables you to gauge soreness. Wait until soreness abates before beginning your next session if you are new to strength training.

Strength exercises are a vital part of maintaining health as a senior. Such exercises help maintain muscle mass and also improve balance and bone health.

Content provided by Bay Area News Group