SENIORS AND RESISTANCE TRAINING: A MUST FOR HEALTH AND LONGEVITY

What population does weight lifting and resistance training benefit most? While these activities are important for youth athletes, business professionals, stay at home moms, and middle aged men alike, they are imperative for seniors! Many of the "age related" issues that the senior demographic seems chronically plagued by including but not limited to arthritis, bone breakage, balance issues, heart disease, diabetes, poor circulation and obesity, can be prevented and even alleviated by introducing a resistance training program.

….FULL ARTICLE

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February is American Heart Month and as a leading community-based network committed to improving the nation’s health, the YMCA of Central Kentucky urges everyone to help prevent heart disease by lowering your blood pressure. Two ways to keep the pressure off your heart are by monitoring your blood pressure and reducing sodium intake.

….FULL ARTICLE

MODIFIED MOVES, MAXIMUM RESULTS

Across the country, a growing number of YMCAs offer Enhance®Fitness, an evidence-based group exercise program for older adults that uses simple, easy-to-learn movements that motivate individuals (particularly those with arthritis) to stay active throughout their life.  


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SENIORS AND RESISTANCE TRAINING

What population does weight lifting and resistance training benefit most? While these activities are important for youth athletes, business professionals, stay at home moms, and middle aged men alike, they are imperative for seniors! Many of the "age related" issues that the senior demographic seems chronically plagued by including but not limited to arthritis, bone breakage, balance issues, heart disease, diabetes, poor circulation and obesity, can be prevented and even alleviated by introducing a resistance training program.


Lifting Weights Functionally


At the suggestion of "weight lifting for seniors", many people bring to mind the image of a grandma with her hair in rollers in the lock out position of a split jerk. Although power-lifting is not something totally out of the realm of possibility for a select group of the 60+ age demographic, if health and wellness are the main concerns, functional fitness training is the best place to start. Functional training is classified by the Mayo Clinic as a way to "train your muscles to work together and prepare them for daily tasks by simulating common movements you might do at home, at work or in sports. While using various muscles in the upper and lower body at the same time, functional fitness exercises also emphasize core stability."* This is key for seniors who want to maintain their independence later in life and be not only self sufficient but to live efficiently.

Functional exercises include squats, step ups, rotational exercises and more. The goal of all of these exercises is to strategically prepare the client for real world movements in a safe, controlled environment by rehearsing movements under various amounts of resistance that mimic the clients' lifestyle.


Lean Muscle Mass: The Fountain of Youth


Anyone who knows me personally or professionally knows how much I believe in the power of building lean mass. According to Dr. Mercola, without the help of resistance training seniors can expect to have lost 15% of their overall lean mass by the time they reach 80 years old.** Fifteen percent may not sound like a lot of atrophy but for a 200 pound man with a body fat percentage of 15%, that means the loss of a little over 25 pounds of muscle! With that amount of atrophy an individual would lose strength, stability, and see a decrease in metabolism which leads to weight gain. This vast muscle loss called sarcopenia opens up door after door to age related issues and can be avoided by reasonable amounts of strength training. Although starting strength training early in life is the best way to ensure maintenance of muscle mass, it is never too late to reverse the process of

Atrophy.


Functional Resistance Training: Are You A Candidate?


1. Are you out of breath after scaling a flight of stairs?

2. Are you able to lift a 25 pound object off the floor without pain?

3. Do you have difficulty getting in and out of your vehicle?

4. Do you lose your balance more than once in a while?

5. Can you carry your groceries in from the car with ease?


If you answer "yes" to 4 or more of the questions above you may be in need of functional resistance training! I recommend consulting with a qualified fitness professional that has experience with both seniors and functional fitness.



SOURCES AND RESOURCES


* www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle


** www.fitness.mercola.com

RACHEL MCCORD

Rachel McCord is the Personal Training Director at Proof Fitness

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