Weight Training: The Real Fountain of Youth
The quest for a way to remain young forever has consumed mankind throughout history. Many have tried “magical supplements, creams and ointments and even body augmentation in the zealous pursuit of a youthful countenance and body only to be defied by age and degeneration.
But what if there was a proven method to defy the aging process, a true “fountain of youth”? I present the following panacea.
Did you know that unlike any other form of exercise, hormones are released during resistance training that determine muscle growth, skin texture and tone, and bone building? Weight training is the only exercise that can induce the hormones necessary to build muscle and maintain youthful vitality.
Sarcopenia is defined as the degenerative loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength. This loss of strength can lead to falls, injuries and eventually loss of independence. Weight training is important to maintain bone density, build muscle strength, improve balance and mobility. Seniors often have multiple medical conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. The CDC recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise weekly and a minimum of 2 strength training days as not only preventative maintenance, but also management of the aforementioned conditions.
So, what kind of strength exercises are good for seniors?
Single Leg Balance
Start by holding onto a sturdy chair or counter, stand on one foot with the other slightly off the ground, release your handhold and gradually work to increase the time you can balance on one foot. Work both sides.
Standing with the back of your legs touching a sturdy chair or bench, slowly squat down to sit (in control), lightly touch your glutes to the seat and then use the strength of your legs to push back up to a standing position. Repeat for 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions.
Seated Leg Extensions
Seated on a chair, slowly raise one foot towards the ceiling and squeeze the muscle in the top of your thigh (quadricep), hold the squeeze for a brief moment before slowly lowering your foot back to the floor. Repeat for 2-3 sets of 8-10 repetitions with each leg.
Holding light weights with your elbows by your sides, slowly raise the weight toward your shoulders and then slowly lower back to your sides. Repeat for 2-3 sets of 8-10 repetitions.
Hold a weight at your wrist with your arms at a 90 degree angle, elbows at your sides. Pull in your abdominal muscles, twist to the left as far as you can, back to the middle, then to the right as far as you can and then back to the middle. Repeat for 2-3 sets on 10 repetitions.
Lateral Arm Raise
Sit with your back straight, and hold a weight in each hand with arms hanging down by your sides, keeping your elbows mostly straight. Raise your arms until they are parallel with the floor, then slowly lower back to your sides. Repeat for 2-3 sets of 8-10 repetitions.
By adding strength training into your weekly exercise regimen, you too can reap the benefits of our Fountain of Youth! No matter your starting point, building muscle, having better mobility and balance, feeling stronger, having less joint pain, increasing your energy levels and boosting your mood are all the amazing side effects of exercise, especially weight training! What are you waiting for???
Michelle is certified in Personal Training, Sports Nutrition, as well as group exercise. She enjoys working one on one or in small groups to help clients meet their personal goals, whether it be gaining strength, losing weight or getting ready for any type of athletic event or competition.
Michelle has a degree in education and more than 20 years of coaching and fitness experience under her belt. A gymnast from the age of 4, Michelle competed for the University of Rhode Island as a four time Academic all-American. She continues to compete regionally and nationally as a professional fitness competitor. Michelle also judges gymnastic competitions for USA Gymnastics.
Michelle’s motto is “Get Better Every Day,” and she’s eager to help you break out of a training rut, learn a new exercise, or just improve on your current fitness level.
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