There is one good reason to stay active as we age: living better.
According to Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutritional Science and Policy, “it’s way more dangerous not to be active as older adults.” The reason for this warning is decreasing physical activity over time is likely one of the leading causes of age-related disability and mobility issues.
According to Tufts, strength training increased muscle mass, helps to support the body, maintain balance and promote increased bone mass. These perks directly aid in preventing the falls. Also, research at the University of British Columbia shows strength training can also boost brainpower. Memory tasks and executive function, higher-level abilities like juggling multiple tasks, both saw improvement with a mix of cardiovascular and strength training.
Despite the benefits, strength training should be approached with caution by seniors who are not used to that level of physical activity. Silver Sneakers highlights the fact that many older people have pre-existing injuries or muscle tightness and imbalance caused by years of inactivity. Work with a personal trainer and avoid leg presses, crunches, running, bench presses, and shoulder presses – at least at first.
Walking encourages better posture and continuously works the connective tissues between joints. Squats are another simple exercise that promotes hip mobility. Starting the movement with a backward push in the hips, keep the chest up, and be sure that the knees don’t travel far past the feet. Push-ups can be made easier with knees on the floor, it is the better start for beginners. Rounding out a basic program, try a rowing machine to get the unused back muscles safely in the mix while helping to strengthen spinal support.
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