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Advantages of Strength Training for the Over 50s

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Typically, when we think of people who do strength training (for those who do not know what that is, strength training refers to muscle building exercises like weightlifting, dumbbell exercises, pushups, etc.), we think of younger men and women.

But, people over the age of 50 can actually benefit from this kind of exercise too. In fact, you could argue that people over 50 benefit more from strength training than those under 50.

Here’s why:

1) It helps maintain muscle mass

One of the main benefits of strength training for the over 50s is that it helps them maintain crucial muscle mass.

See, as you get older, your body starts to lose muscle mass at a much quicker rate than when you were younger.

“Sarcopenia” is a medical term that refers to the gradual decline in muscle mass that elderly people experience.

In fact, older people can lose up to 5% of their muscle mass per decade. The number may not look that big on the surface, but over time this is a pretty large decrease.

One way to mitigate this loss of muscle mass is to engage in strength training.

While building muscle over the age of 50 is difficult, strength training will at the very least help you maintain the muscles you already have (which has knock on benefits to keep you more active as you age).

2) It helps maintain bone density

We have already covered how muscle mass deteriorates as you get older, well the same is true for your bone density.

As you get older, your bone density slowly starts to decline.

Once you get past 50, your bone density really starts to become an issue.

Now, the most commonly utilized solution is to get more calcium, but that is not the only thing that you should be doing.

Strength training has been shown to be effective in helping those suffering from bone related issues like osteoarthritis. The sooner you take it up, the better for your bones.

3) Improved cardiovascular health

People over 50 need to worry about the health of their cardiovascular system a lot more than younger people, as they are more likely to suffer from issues like high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, etc.

Strength training is a great way of improving the health of your cardiovascular system.

It gets your blood pumping and it helps keep your blood pressure stabilized.

For those over 50, moderate strength training can help them keep cardiovascular issues under control.

4 Strength Training Exercises That Are Easy to Perform at Home

Strength training exercises don’t have to be carried out in the gym.

Even if you don’t have weights at home, you can do strength training exercises which utilise the weight and resistance of your own body to help train and strengthen your muscles.

Here are four of the best strength training exercises that you can perform at home.

1) Planks

The plank has only recently become a popular strength training exercise, but it’s a great way to train many different muscles in your body.

Not only is planking great for your core strength, but it’s a step down from push-ups for those who struggle with the movement, and it can build strength in your upper arms and your thighs too.

When starting out, you should plank for around 15 seconds, increasing it around 5 seconds per day until you can plank for 2 minutes without stopping.

2) Jumping Jacks

This isn’t the ideal exercise to do if you live in an apartment above other people, since they won’t be too happy about the noise it creates, but jumping jacks are a great way to get your heart rate up and build some strength for your entire body.

In order to tone up even more and add extra resistance, you can do jumping jacks while holding small weights (around 1-2kg).

3) Curls

You may be wondering how you can possibly do any type of curling exercises without weights, but you can easily do it by finding items around your home.

If you don’t have any weights to use at home, you can exercise using items such as large bottles of water or cartons of milk.

They don’t have to be incredibly heavy, and you’ll start to feel your muscles pulling even with lighter items if you do enough reps.

4) Push-ups

You can do push-ups no matter where you are, and it’s one of the best ways to build extra strength across your entire body.

You might struggle to do push-ups at first, and some people can only manage one or two, particularly if they are very unfit or carrying lots of excess weight.

If you can only manage one at first, try again the next day and gradually build it up until you can do 20-30 without stopping.

As mentioned previously, planking is a good way to introduce yourself to push-ups, so if you find them difficult, start off with a few seconds per day of planking.

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