Benefits of Strength Training for Seniors

strength training senior citizensOld age is not an excuse for skipping fitness. Exercise is for all ages. This is why many experts think that people should train for strength regardless of their age. There’s an appropriate training routine for people of all ages. Some people above 40 or 50 think they are too old to gain muscle and strength, but that’s just not true. You can gain muscle and strength even if you are above 60, maybe a tad slower than young people, but you can go stronger, fitter, and healthier. Even the CDC advocates this workout for senior citizens.

Here are several reasons why you should consider strength training.

Regaining Balance

The older you get, the worse your balance gets, and it’s not just because you’re aging. It’s also because we tend to be less active as we get older. That causes us to lose muscle tone and bone density, two things that exercise, particularly strength training, can reverse. Restoring your muscle tone, or at least some of it, can improve your balance and reduce chances of falls and resulting injuries.

Increasing Bone Mass

Adult men and women lose bone mass as they age. This can be prevented, slowed down, or even reversed through proper nutrition and exercise. Strength training, coupled with proper diet, is the best way to avoid losing bone mass and even regain them. By slowing down or reversing bone density loss, you’re reducing the risk of fractures and osteoporosis.

Improving Muscle Strength

The average Joe who doesn’t train for strength loses at least 5 pounds of muscle by the time he’s 30. He would lose 5 pounds more by the time he’s 40. Ten more years, and he would lose another 5 pounds. You lose muscle mass, tone, and strength. You grow weaker and with muscle mass loss follows bone loss as well. You also tend to pack more fat as you lose muscle. Muscle burns calories. The bigger, more active your muscles are, the more calories you burn and the less fat you store. Strength training increases muscle tone and metabolism, and this is true even for seniors past 60.

Restoring Heart Health

Any form of exercise is good for your heart. Strength training when done at a proper pace trains your cardiopulmonary system and later on improves cardiac health. Because strength training tends to burn fat, your cardiovascular profile improves. It also trains your heart to handle greater physical demands.

Reducing Arthritis Pain

Strength training has been shown to reduce joint pain in people with arthritis, which is quite a common ailment among the elderly. Unlike running and many cardio exercises, strength training is not a high-impact sport that soon becomes taxing for the joints. Lifting weights or training with resistance strengthens not only the muscles but also the bones, tendons, and joints. Calisthenics, for instance, is a type of strength training that benefits people with joint pains and injuries. The secret is to train according to your strength levels and follow a well-structured program designed for you.

Keeping You Healthy

The older we are, the more diseases we suffer from. Seniors are more likely to get cardiovascular disease, diabetes, colon problems, sleep disorders, and osteoporosis. Strength training helps you manage chronic disorders and allows you to live a better life. For instance, it allows your body to better control blood sugar and body fat, thus curbing or even reversing the progress of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Also, any form of exercise helps people sleep better and fight stress.

Strength Training Tips for Divers

diver strength trainingIt may seem as though that diving is its own training. Meaning, if you’re a diver, all you have to do is dive, and that alone is sufficient to your strength gains. But only untrained and uninformed people would make this assumption. The truth is you need to complement your underwater training with weight training in the gym. Both types of training work differently but complement each other.

How do you get stronger as a diver?

You have to get strong muscles. That’s all there is to it. If you want to be stronger, you have to train your muscles for strength and endurance.

Train all muscle groups.

You use all your muscles when you’re diving, so work out all your muscles in the gym. If you’re new to strength training, start with compound workouts three times a week. These exercises include barbell squat, leg press, lat pull down (or pull up), bench press, and shoulder press. Once you build decent strength, you can progress to muscle-specific isolation exercises, such as standard curl, cable extension, trap raise, leg curl, step up, and calf raise.

Have a solid workout plan.

You don’t go to a gym and just use machines randomly. If you have no idea what to do, ask the gym instructor. You don’t train like everyone else. Know your strength levels and strength training experience, and start from there. If you have been diving for a while and are considering upping your muscular strength and endurance, you probably have some decent strength level, which can be measured by how much weight you can lift properly for 8 repetitions.

A solid workout plan involves properly structured workout schedules and rest/recovery days. Beginners start from full body workout using compound exercises, build strength through progressive overloading, and then include isolation exercises.

Lift BEFORE you dive, not after.

Most divers who also lift weights go to the gym before their scheduled dives. When they are diving on multiple days in succession, they skip weight training altogether until their off days. If you have a diving schedule that conflicts with your strength training schedule, do the strength training first. After the dive, rest. Reduce your activity after a dive to avoid formation of micro-bubbles in the body, particularly in the joints.

Include cardio.

Cardio should be part of any fitness program. The main purpose of cardio is to train your cardiovascular stamina. You also burn calories in the process too. Your muscles are not the only ones working hard when you dive but also your heart and lungs. Do cardio 2-3 times a week for 30 minutes each session. Do cardio after weight training. You can hop on the treadmill or just jog.

Do warm ups and cool downs.

A proper warm up prepares your body for the workout. It raises up your heart rate and breathing rate and wakes up your muscles. The purpose is to improve circulation of blood and oxygen to your muscles. Working out your “cold” joints and muscles increases the risk of injury.

After your intense workout, you should also cool down to gradually bring your heart and breathing rate slowly and avoid pooling of blood in your extremities.

Warm ups and cool downs can be anything from dynamic stretching to jogging. Cardio for 5 minutes is excellent for warm up and cool down.