Living Longer and Healthier with Strength Training
My mom uses her elliptical exercise machine every day. She’s 82. She really is in great shape and quite possibly better than me (I think she is). However, according to our source article by Dr. Robert Glatter that type of exercise alone may not be enough (though it sure is going well for her now).
His point, and one I believe has been addressed on this site before, is that such aerobic exercise doesn’t do enough to keep up muscle tone, bone health, your balance, and posture. You need some type of strength or resistance training.
… the average 30-35 year old person will experience roughly a 25 percent decline in his or her muscle strength and tone by the age of 70-75, and up to a 50 percent decline approaching the age of 90.
His point with adding strength training to your daily regimen is that it helps maintain strong bones. As osteoporosis or bone mass loss is a major concern as we age, we should do what we can to stop that bone loss. Just 10 – 15 minutes daily with dumbbells, barbells or resistance bands can be enough. No real need to join a gym and use weight machines.
Inactivity, poor nutrition, and age-related changes, all help to reduce bone mass at the rate of approximately 1% per year after age 40. As a result, after a minor fall, our bones are more fragile and thus likely to break after minor stress or tension.
I mentioned before about my son, the EMT, talking about how many calls they get for an older person taking a fall and breaking something or can’t even pick themselves up and how amazed he was my mom didn’t have that happen when she fell last year. Hmm, maybe she sneaks in some work with dumbbells, too. I know she does all the grocery shopping and lifting the bags of food, so she’s no lightweight (even if at under 100 pounds she is a light weight).
Strength training also has positive benefits on bone maintenance and stability that eclipse the potential benefits of aerobic weight-bearing exercise. It targets the bones of the spine, hips, wrists, and ribs, which are common sites that fracture.
I don’t know how the source article’s author feels about body weight exercises for doing this job, but as I understand they can help as well. So if you don’t have weights, start with your own body. Try squats. And use the bigger cans from your pantry as your dumbbells. They work.
Another very good point here is about an older person’s stability. If strength training helps that, all the better. I read recently about how we should do core exercises on a stability ball as it will help us with our balance. I do know that tai chi can be very helpful.
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