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Strength Training for Healthy Aging

Updated on April 19, 2013

To guard against age related diseases we need to maintain healthy habits and part of those habits is exercise. As we age so do our muscles and bones. The muscles can shrink over time and lose their power and strength.

Our bones can become thinner because we lose calcium and other minerals. As well joints become stiffer and we become less mobile and flexible. The fluid in our joints can thicken which causes the cartilage to rub together and wear away. All this can lead to arthritis and an increase in bone breaks and fractures.

One of the best ways to stave off the deterioration of our bones and muscles is weight bearing exercises. It is inexpensive and safe for all ages. Also called strengthen training, this form of exercise can improve mobility and balance, increase muscle mass and build stronger bones.

In order to maintain your weight, strength training at a moderate intensity, should be an integral part of your fitness program. One set of 8 to 12 repetitions of eight to ten exercises at least two days a week is the recommended minimum.

A basic strength training program should include: bench press, lat pulldown, overhead press, bicep curl, tricep pulldown, squat, leg extensions, leg curl and abdominal crunch. To see how these exercises are done, check out YouTube.

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Strength Training

Strength training as well as other forms of exercise that require us to support our own weight not only build and strengthen our muscles and bones but also slows the aging process. More importantly it doesn't matter at what age we start doing this form of exercise.

It is only important that we start and as well continue on a regular exercise program each week. The good news is that research has found that when an older adult works out using strength training exercises, at the appropriate intensities, they can have similar gains to their strength and power as younger adults.

How hard should you be working out? The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 8 to 10 exercises working the major muscle groups of the body for 8 to 12 repetitions for two to three days per week. Evidently you will be able to see changes to your strength in as little as four to six weeks.

Water Exercises

Even thought exercises performed in the water do not provide the same bond-building effects that lifting weights or using body weight on dry land, water still provides a great workout.

Regular swimming and water aerobic classes will build endurance, muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness.

If you suffer from arthritis then exercise should be an integral part of a treatment plan. Water therapy has become very popular with arthritis patients because the warmth of the water soothes their bones and joints. The buoyancy of the water reduces strain on already aching joints. 

According to studies conducted at the Mayo Clinic, exercising in the water has tremendous benefits including aerobic fitness, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility and better balance.

More Books on Weight Training

Body Weight Exercises


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