Strength and conditioning
Strength and conditioning training is safe and effective for women and men of all ages, including those who are not in perfect health. In fact, people with health concerns often benefit the most from an exercise program that includes lifting weights a few times each week.
Exercise can slow the physiological ageing clock. While aerobic exercise, such as walking, jogging, or swimming, has many excellent health benefits it does not make your muscles strong. Strength training does. Lifting weights two or three times a week increases strength by building muscle mass and bone density.
Strength training programs can also have a profound effect on reducing risk for falls, which translates to fewer fractures.
Benefits of Strength Training
Strength-training programs for older men and women, with moderate to severe knee osteoarthritis can be very beneficial. After a sixteen-week program strength training can significantly help to decrease pain, increase muscle strength and general physical performance, improve the clinical signs and symptoms of the disease, and decrease disability.
Restoration of Balance and Reduction of Falls
As people age, poor balance and flexibility contribute to falls and broken bones. Strengthening exercises, when done properly and through the full range of motion, increase a person’s flexibility and balance, which decreases the likelihood and severity of falls.
Strengthening of Bone
Strength training increases bone density and reduces the risk for fractures among men and women aged between 50-70.
Strength training is crucial to weight control, because individuals who have more muscle mass have a higher metabolic rate. Muscle tissue consumes calories while stored fat uses very little energy. Strength training can provide up to a 15% increase in metabolic rate, which is enormously helpful for weight loss and long-term weight control with medication but without the side effects or the expense.
Improved Glucose Control
Diabetes is a serious condition in many older adults. In addition to being at greater risk for heart and renal disease, diabetes is also the leading cause of blindness in older adults. Strength training has a profound impact on helping older adults manage their diabetes.
Healthy State of Mind
Strength training provides similar improvements in depression as anti-depressant medications. Currently, it is not known if this is because people feel better when they are stronger or if strength training produces a helpful biochemical change in the brain. Perhaps it is a combination of the two. When older adults participate in strength training programs, their self-confidence and self-esteem improve, which has a strong impact on their overall quality of life.
People who exercise regularly enjoy improved sleep quality. They fall asleep more quickly, sleep more deeply, awaken less often, and sleep longer. As with depression, the sleep benefits obtained as a result of strength training are comparable to treatment with medication but without the side effects or the expense.
Strength training is important for cardiac health because heart disease risk is lower when the body is leaner.