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What To Know About Strength Training For Better Health As An Older Adult

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You've probably heard about the recent studies that show a sedentary lifestyle is bad for your health. You know you should exercise, but you may wonder what kind is best. Exercise helps you maintain your weight and it is good for keeping you healthy as you age too. A good program should include a mix of aerobic exercise and strength training. Here are a few things to know about strength training as an older adult.

Why Strength Training Is Important

Strength training keeps your muscles strong so you can avoid becoming frail and weak as you age. When you have strong muscles, you can stay active since you'll be able to walk and stay mobile for longer periods of time. You'll be able to climb stairs and do the daily activities you want to do such as cooking, bending, and lifting. Regular exercise that includes strength training could mean the difference between being active and social in your senior years and being weak and housebound.

How To Start Strength Training

You can do strength training exercises in your home without the need for special equipment. However, it's a good idea to start a program under supervision when you're older, especially if you are out of shape. You may be anxious to start and overdo your first few sessions which could lead to sore muscles or an injury. Get approval from your doctor before you begin. Consider hiring a personal trainer or taking classes at your local gym so you can learn different exercises and the proper technique to use. Once you have some experience and know how to exercise safely now that you're older, then you can continue a program on your own at home a few times each week.

Different Types Of Strength Training

Picking the best way to train is up to your personal preferences. If you enjoy the socialization of going to the gym, then you can work out on weight machines or use weights on an exercise ball. Your trainer may advise you to avoid the machines since they tend to isolate the muscles you're working. When you sit on an exercise ball and use dumbbells for arm exercises, you not only work your arms, you also work your core as you maintain your balance. This can give you a better workout that strengthens and conditions the muscles you use on a daily basis as you go about an active lifestyle. Benefits of going to a gym include access to a variety of equipment, group classes, supervision, and the ability to switch between strength training and aerobic exercises such as swimming and cycling.

If you don't like the idea of going to a gym, you can still get a good strength training workout at home using your body weight. This includes doing old school exercises like the lunge and push ups. You can use dumbbells, resistance bands, or kettle bells as your muscles get stronger so your workouts stay challenging. Whether you work out at home or go to a gym, you want to stay consistent. While you may want to do strength training exercises every other day, you should get some sort of exercise daily by alternating aerobic exercise on the other days. Also, you should try to stay active during the day rather than sitting in front of a television all day after working out.

The more you move and exercise, the less prone you are to injury. One of the worst things you can do when you get older is to stay sedentary all week and then work out excessively on the weekend. That puts you at a high risk of injury when you overwork muscles that aren't prepared for the sudden increase in activity.