Older adults and strength exercises.

Older adults need to be doing strength exercises.  There are many reasons for this, among them the fact that lifting weights gives you about a 20 percent chance of living longer than people who don’t.  Unfortunately, only about 10 percent of adults over 65 years old meet the minimum requirements for strength training which is two full-body workouts a week.   A good full-body workout works the abs, lower back, legs, chest, back, arms, and shoulders.  You can use machines, free weights, bands, or just body weight, but every older adult needs to get in a couple of strength workouts a week.

In addition to the possibility of increasing your lifespan, strength training will build muscle which helps with activities of daily living.  Strength training also helps with blood sugar regulation which is important in controlling or preventing diabetes.  And it helps in the battle with arthritis by reducing joint inflammation.  So don’t neglect strength training.  Even people in their 80’s and 90’s can benefit.

This doesn’t mean you should do strength training to the exclusion of cardiovascular training.   Any kind of aerobic exercise is good – walk, jog, combine the two, ride a stationary bike or whatever you like to get the heart pumping.  Strive for 30 minutes a day, 3 or 4 days a week.

By doing your strength training and your cardio work, you’ll look better, you’ll feel better, and you have a 20 percent better chance of living longer too.

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