Why Over 50’s Should Be Strength Training

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(Newswire.net — May 18, 2023) — If you are fast approaching 50 or later, then it is essential to consider your exercise regime, and here’s why! As we get older, the muscle condition degrades, and hormones produced by these muscles reduce too. The knock-on effect is reduced efficiency of your muscles and musculoskeletal system. Exercise will condition your body, and it can reduce those niggles and avoid injury in day-to-day life.

This article reveals why strength training is important for those over 50. We also provide alternative exercises if strength training is not for you. We explain that diet also plays a vital role in maintaining your strength and conditioning in later life.

What is strength training? 

Typically this can also be referred to as weight training. To build strength, you are using weights, and resistance training helps to increase muscle, strength, and efficiency. In those over the 50s, strength training can vary, but primarily the benefits of this type of training are explained in the following section. 

Seven reasons why strength training is important for those over the 50 

  1. Muscle condition – Exercise helps with muscle condition, so building strength provides essential maintenance of your critical muscles. This promotes efficient function.   
  2. Skeletal support – Muscles act as the scaffold to support our skeletal structures and joints and ensure good posture. Aches and pains are felt more as we age, and the resulting changes to muscle condition and musculoskeletal support mean joints are more susceptible to aches and pains. 
  3. Mobility – Exercise generally involves a full or exaggerated range of repeated movements which help promote mobility and make moving easier. 
  4. Bone Density & Strength – Harvard University reported that bone density could be improved by exercise even in later life, thanks to increasing resistance and blood flow. 
  5. Sense of well-being – Derived from endorphins released into the bloodstream, the result of exercise. Happy hormones reward the body for exercising, leaving a euphoric feeling.    
  6. Keep illness at bay – Exercise keeps your immune system at bay, meaning that we are better at defending against illness and bugs that can plague us. 
  7. Better sleep – As we age, less sleep is required, this does not affect everyone in the same ways, but if you exercise, then your body is ready for sleep, and many people report waking feeling more refreshed thanks to exercise. 

So we’ve established the core benefits of exercise for those over 50, and if you are looking for strength equipment, consider visiting Mirafit. But what if strength training is not for you? What other exercises can you do to help improve your strength?

What exercises can you do as an over-50? 

Firstly lots! However, this does depend on your general health. We often see 70+ runners completing park runs, 10ks, and even half marathons at speeds acceptable to early forty-year-olds. The secret is building to those levels. 

What are the most popular strength exercises for those over 50?  

If you are not particularly active, here are some suggestions to help. With all exercise, you should judge your own levels and not expect to compare with some body types and genetics. You must listen to your body, but be prepared to nudge yourself beyond normal comfort levels to improve your health and strength. 

Walking – is great as you can use this as a base exercise to build on. Walking distance can be increased or decreased accordingly, and to add to the challenge, you can speed up or slow down. It uses the same muscles as running, is less impactful and will help your overall fitness. Benefiting your leg strength, back strength, and general stability, as with many of the examples, this uses your body weight to work your muscles. 

Swimming – This is great for toning and strengthening many muscles, and although it does not burn as many calories, swimming provides low-risk tone improvements. It helps because you are being forced to move your own mass through the water. 

Cycling – Like all sports for younger or older participants, you should start slowly to prepare your body for the activity. Cycling is no different. If you do not cycle regularly or have not for years, then ease back into it. Cycling is a fantastic fitness activity for using your mechanical muscles. Legs, shoulders, and although it burns fewer calories than running, it also has much lower impact, but shifting a bike up an incline and having to move body weight is difficult.   

Yoga – Underestimate the effort it takes to complete yoga poses at your peril. Yoga is great for improving suppleness, tone, and supportive strength. Yoga is excellent for all ages. It is great for core strength building.

Boxing fitness – Not new, but increasing in popularity Boxing fitness, or Boxfit, is more popular with gyms and leisure centers. Using gloves and pads, sometimes punch bags, boxing fitness is actually very good for general wellness. It works all of the muscles and raises your heartbeat. 

When should you start strength training?

If you can start strength training in some capacity, then start. 

Muscle tone and strength will always benefit your health, according to Nicky Snazell’s physiotherapy. “Avoiding faster degeneration of joints and muscle mass; exercise is essential. Many older clients see us, and they have been neglecting their fitness resulting in wear and tear on joints and weaknesses that can be more difficult to correct.”  

In this article, we discussed how exercise can help provide the foundation to slow this degeneration and improve your condition in later life. Eating well is important, so consider feeding your muscles protein, nutrients, and lots of water. The more you can do in your formative years, the better you will be when you need your muscles and strength in later life. The first few times you do any exercise, be careful not to overuse muscles. Remember to enjoy yourself because this will ensure that you continue the activity; this is also why a hobby such as running, cycling, swimming or weight training is ideal.    

We hope that you found this useful and it’s made you consider fitness to help you maintain muscle and choose an activity that will support you in later life by toning and strengthening now.