Senior Fitness: Strength Training for Prevention

Many seniors take part in fitness and exercise in order to stay healthy and happy in old age, but strength training is often overlooked. The corner of the gym where all the big iron sits next to large mirrors can be an intimidating arena for most of us, and our stereotypical image of only large, young men belonging there doesn’t help elderly gym goers to pick up some weights. But studies have shown that weight training throughout adulthood and into the senior years can have significant positive impacts on health and prevention.

Strength training for seniors can help with:

  • Balance – loss of balance and falls are the leading cause of injury to seniors, but a consistent strength regime can build stabilising muscles and prevent loss of balance.
  • Osteoporosis – muscle mass contributes to bone health, so maintaining muscles is essential to prevention of osteoporosis.
  • Arthritis – by supporting joints through muscles and ligaments, strength training is shown to prevent rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Body composition – seniors looking to lose body fat can benefit from a strength training regime, which will increase muscle mass on the body, increasing the body’s metabolism and burning more fat as a result.
  • Past injuries – where parts of the body have gone through previous injuries, such as chronic back pain or an accident, specific strength movements prescribed by a physiotherapist will help prevent the area from future injuries.

As with all things prevention, the sooner you start the better, but it’s never too late to begin a strength training programme!