The Benefits of Strength Training for Older Women

March 29, 2022 0 Comments

Older women have long been told to avoid resistance training and weight lifting because it could damage their joints or increase their risk of injury. That’s an old canard, say experts, and a limited view of what strength training can do for women as they age.

Strength training is a form of exercise that involves working your muscles against resistance to build strength and endurance. It’s often associated with weightlifting and bodybuilding, but this type of exercise doesn’t have to involve free weights or weight machines. You can perform strength training exercises using your body weight as resistance. Exercising has many great health benefits at any age. However, there are special considerations that may apply to older women. These include age-related muscle loss and side effects from certain medications. This article explores the benefits of strength training for older women, as well as how to get started

Strength training has many benefits for both men and women at any age. But for women older than 50, the benefits are more pronounced — especially if you’ve been inactive for a while.

Here’s why you should consider getting started with a strength training program:

  • Improves balance

After the age of 60, one out of three people will fall every year. The risk of falling increases with age due to reduced muscle mass, loss of flexibility, and poorer balance. Strength training can improve your balance by building muscles that support your joints and help maintain your posture.

  • Increases energy levels

As we get older, our metabolism slows down, making it harder to maintain our weight. Resistance exercise can help combat this by increasing muscle mass so your body burns more calories throughout the day — even when you’re not exercising. More muscles also mean more energy to get you through the day.

  • Boosts energy

Engaging in strength training for older women can help boost energy levels by keeping muscles saturated with oxygenated blood, so they have the energy to continue working out and performing daily tasks like getting up from a chair or carrying groceries up the stairs.

  • Makes the bones and muscles stronger

As you age, your bones become more brittle and prone to fractures or breaks. You may also experience muscle loss that can lead to falls and injuries. Strength training helps with both of these problems by building up muscle mass and strengthening bones, making them less likely to break or fracture if you fall.

  • Makes you sleep better at night

As you get older, restless nights might seem inevitable. But strength training can help you sleep better at night. After you exercise, the temperature in your body rises. When it cools down, it triggers a sleep-promoting effect. If you have trouble sleeping, try exercising earlier in the day rather than later in the afternoon or evening.

  • Improves cognitive function

Many studies show how strength training can improve cognitive function in older adults. This is partly because physical activity reduces stress hormones like cortisol, which has been shown to impair memory and learning ability.

  • Boosts Immune System

Strength training strengthens white blood cells, the immune system’s first line of defense against viral infection. Multiple studies have found that regular resistance training, such as weightlifting, was associated with a reduced risk of upper respiratory tract infections in older adults.

  • Improves Cardiovascular Health

Resistance training involves repeated muscle contractions against an external resistance (like weights or your body weight), which can increase your heart rate and improve cardiovascular health over time. A study found that resistance exercise lowered blood pressure better than aerobic exercise among middle-aged women. Strength training also boosts metabolism, helping you burn more calories throughout the day and get rid of stubborn fat. And it’s one of the best ways to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which can help prevent heart disease.

  • Reduces belly fat

Strength training can help you keep your figure and build muscle mass, which helps you burn more calories even when you’re at rest. It also reduces belly fat, which harms your heart and other organs.

  • Improves mental health

Strength training has been shown to reduce signs of depression and anxiety in older women and has even been shown to improve symptoms of dementia.

  • Increases muscle strength

Strength training at any age increases skeletal muscle mass and muscular strength. Muscular strength is particularly important in helping older adults remain independent, perform activities of daily living (such as lifting groceries or getting out of a chair), maintain healthy body weight, manage chronic conditions (such as arthritis) and prevent falls and fractures. Muscle also burns more calories than fat does, so increasing your muscle mass will help you lose weight without losing your ability to perform everyday activities.

 

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