Starting a blog post by comparing fitness to a wine is most definitely a first for me. But hear me out here its certainly better to age like a fine wine than age like milk, right?. Strength training is not just for people who want to compete in the Olympics or look like comic book superheroes. If you're someone who wants to stay strong, fit and healthy for your entire life. Someone who idea of retirement isn't sitting all day in a chair then strength training might just the answer to your problems.
Benefits of strength training
In addition to all the other benefits of strength training, there are a few that you might find particularly helpful if you're an older adult.
Strength training can help keep you active and independent for longer. Strong muscles make it easier for us to move around on our own, so as we age, building muscle can help us do everyday things like get out of bed or walk down the stairs without assistance.
Strength training helps prevent falls. Resistance exercise builds leg strength and improves body mechanics and balance, which are all important in reducing falls.. By strengthening our muscles through exercise, we reduce our risk of falling and gain more independence.
Strength training can improve posture - Strengthening weak muscles is really important for building and maintaining your posture. We often see weakness in the thoracic spine causing a stooped over posture, strengthening these muscle can help keep you standing nice and tall.
Strength training and bone density - strength training can play a role in slowing bone loss, and several show it can even build bone. This is tremendously useful to help offset age-related declines in bone mass.
Are you ready?
It's important that you check with your doctor before starting any exercise program. If you have a medical condition, or if you're unsure, I highly recommend that you consult your GP.
I'd also recommend that you find a fitness professional in your local area who is well versed in the application of strength training. (pppsssssstttt - If you are in the Aylesbury Buckinghamshire area we can help you by proving a consultation to asses your movement and help advise on how to get started)
The first step to getting started with strength training is to consult a fitness professional so that they can develop an appropriate resistance program for you. This program should be specific to you and your needs. I'd also like to take a moment to let you know that we fitness professionals would love to help you. I feel its important to say this as from experience I have learnt that a big barrier for the older adult was that they didn't think I'd want to work with them.
I'd recommend starting off with a few compound movements designed to work the entire body. And performing 3 sets of 10 reps using a weight that would allow you to perform 20rep's. I'd recommend training 2-3x per week. Having rest between your sessions to allow recovery and adaptation.
Remember strength training is a marathon and not a sprint. It's best to start easy and build yourself up slow and steady each week.
Depending on your current fitness level I would advise prioritising free weight movements due to the fact that you must stabilise the weights throughout the movement. Doing so will help improve your balance as well as your muscular control. This will help you perform everyday tasks with ease and improve you're balance and reduce the risk of falling.
You might not be at this stage yet but thats okay starting with fixed machines is still excellent. And after you have developed a base of strength you can then begin to learn how to perform the more complex free weight movements.
It's certainly true that participation in any physical activity comes with an element of risk so its important to make sure you are keeping your self safe when exercising.
If you're not sure how to do a lift or exercise properly, it's always best to ask for help from a trainer. A good trainer will be able to show you the proper form and technique for the lift, so that you can avoid injury and get more out of your workout.
Make sure to wear appropriate clothing that is unrestrictive and allows you to move in all directions. As well as wearing appropriate trainers. For the purpose of strength training I'd advise steering clear of running shoes. Running Shoes are often heavily cushioned too but this compressible material designed to help absorb shocks when running makes balance more difficult when performing resistance exercises. You will want to wear a comfortable and fairly flat shoe.
If you feel unsafe doing an exercise on your own, then ask someone spot for you during that exercise. This means that if you overestimate your ability they can aid you with the weight keeping you safe.
Start with a weight that is comfortable for you to lift.
Keep your back neutral and your head aligned with the rest of your body throughout the exercise.
Don't rush the movement; slow down and focus on form over speed!
Lastly, don't bounce or jerk weights while this isn't inherently dangerous it should be reserved for the more experienced lifter. You should be looking to except control in both the eccentric lengthening phase and concentric shorting phases of the movement.
Keeping it Simple.
Strength training doesn't have to mean lifting heavy barbells. You don't need special equipment, so you can do it anywhere—at home or in a gym. Remember Strength training is not just for young people: It can help to prevent osteoporosis and frailty by stimulating the growth of muscle and bone. Feeling physically strong also promotes mental and emotional health.
It is possible to use bodyweight exercises to increase your strength and these can be done in the comfort of your own home. Even two short 20 min sessions per week is better than doing nothing, so if you struggle for time or don't have access to a gym remember that a short bodyweight routine can yield impressive results when it comes to maintaining mobility and movement.
After reading this article, you should be ready to get started with strength training. Remember that it’s not just about being strong—it’s also about feeling good and having fun! You don’t need fancy equipment or a gym membership, so all you need is yourself and some motivation. And if that doesn’t work, consider enlisting the help of an expert trainer who will motivate you towards your fitness goals by making sure that everything is done properly.
Here at Devanney Strength we have extensive experience working with people just like you. We can help you structure and bespoke strength regime to help improve your health and fitness. Allowing you to retain your movement and independence. We work out of a private studio so if you find commercial gyms a little intimidating we have got your covered. You will be working in a 1-2-1 setting with an expert trainer.