While aging is inevitable, but aging well is not!
There are many factors involved in maintaining good physical and mental health as you age, but one of the most important things to consider as you grow older is strength training.
Researchers at the National Institute on Aging have been studying the effects of strength training for decades and have found so many ways it promotes healthy aging. The biggest benefit? It can add years to your life.
Here are six ways strength training over 50 helps slow the aging process and keeps your body healthy and feeling younger than ever.
1. It Helps Build Lean Muscle Mass
As we age, our bodies lose muscle if we’re not focused on a regular strength training workout. Those who strength train see tighter, more toned bodies rather than getting “bulky.”
It’s a myth that weight training will make you bulk up. It will, however, help you achieve that coveted toned appearance everyone wants!
It takes a combination of strength and cardio exercise. Cardio workouts help burn calories and get your heart pumping, which is critical for your overall heart health and weight management. But as that fat starts to melt off, you also need to strength train if you want any toned definition.
Being stronger means staying independent and strong for life’s daily activities, such as carrying groceries, lifting grandchildren, or engaging in fun activities like golf or other sports.
2. It Improves Bone Density and Lowers Injury Risk
Injury prevention is important, especially as you age—and it’s an often-overlooked benefit of building muscle.
Unexpected falls put countless older people in the hospital every year. In fact, according to the CDC, falls are the leading cause of injury and death in older Americans.
By training the muscle and connective tissue that surrounds your bones, you are making yourself stronger and helping to prevent a fall from happening in the first place. Bone density is a big deal, and strength training is the best way to preserve it.
Strong muscles protect your bones and joints when they’re in motion and make your ligaments better at absorbing the shock they endure during dynamic movements. It’s important to incorporate weekly strength training into your routine to avoid random strains and sprains.
3. It Lowers the Risk of Obesity and Disease
Maintaining a healthy weight is important for preventing many diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, liver disease, and certain cancers.
Strength training is an excellent way to eliminate excess fat, keep your body healthy, and reduce the risk of obesity and the diseases that come with it.
For those already struggling with obesity, research shows that adding weight lifting to an exercise and diet routine for older adults yields better results than diet or aerobic exercise alone.
4. It Boosts Metabolism
Unfortunately, as you age, your metabolism begins to slow down. One great way to revive it is by weight training.
Your resting metabolic rate (RMR) is how many calories your body burns at rest. The more muscle you have on your body, the higher that metabolic rate.
Essentially, the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism works. Bottom line? When you have more muscle mass in your body, you burn more calories every day.
5. It Improves Mental Health
Strength training is not just about more muscle mass. As you get older, you may go through many life changes, making it normal to feel sad, stressed, or uneasy.
Adopting a strength training program has been shown to improve your confidence and boost your mental health. Moreover, Harvard Medical School reports that exercise helps lessen the incidence and the degree of clinical depression.
6. It Helps Balance, Coordination, and Mobility
Regular strengthening workouts improve your balance and coordination, which helps you do just about everything, from yoga and dance to daily tasks.
As you age, you tend to lose the overall muscle strength that allows you to balance. By lifting weights, you are not only building up muscle strength and protecting bone health but also forcing your body to function in an unbalanced state, thus improving overall balance and coordination.
Bending, lifting, balancing—these movements are very important as you age! If you can strength train, it will help you stay more coordinated and capable throughout the years.
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