The benefits of strength training for older adults
As an ageing population continues to pile pressure on Britain’s health and care system, it’s increasingly important to get older people more active to enable them to lead happier, healthier and more independent lives in their later years – with strength training able to play an important role in this.
We feel it is important for older people to get moving more and fight the effects of ageing which cause our muscles to deteriorate over time.
With this in mind, current NHS guidelines state that adults over the age of 65 should aim to do strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms) which – when combined with anaerobic activity – is seen as the best way to help older people stay strong, fit and healthy for as long as possible.
There are numerous benefits to strength training regardless of an individual’s age, from improving neuromuscular efficiency, which basically improves all skill-related components of fitness such as balance, coordination and agility, to improving the ease of everyday tasks, including walking, running and jumping.
Interestingly, strength training can also improve bone density. Like muscle, bone is living tissue, so it responds to exercise by becoming stronger. For older adults , improved bone strength helps with all aspects of everyday activity and reduces the risk of falls, while also helping those with osteoporosis (of which there are over three million in the UK according to NHS figures) to reduce the risk of fractures.
In fact, research published this year identified that an in-home exercise programme consisting of balance and resistance training exercises (for example, using free weights) may reduce the risk of older adults falling by up to 36 per cent.
Join Maryann on Tuesdays at 3pm for a Fitness Circuits Class. Here you will incorporate free weights, resistance and body weight exercises. £8 drop in.