Strength training for seniors not only builds up bone and muscle but counteracts the weakness and frailty that usually comes with aging. Exercising your muscles will increase not only your muscular strength but also your muscular endurance which is the ability to repeat a movement over and over again.
Strength training can help with osteoporosis, arthritis and type II diabetes to improve your quality of life. Training with weights or resistance bands along with the right diet can reverse type II diabetes. Regular exercise reduces the risk of chronic diseases, lowers the chance of injury and will improve your mood.
The easiest way for older people to begin strength and muscle training is by joining a gym. There you can obtain advice from trainers who will set you on the right path to protect against injury. But there’s nothing wrong with strengh training in the comfort of your own home. In fact, many seniors prefer to start off at home before branching out to a gym for more advanced training.
Older people who have been sedentary for some time and avoided any constant exercise would be advised to follow this routine when starting out at home. These exercises are for multiple muscle groups.
1. Chair Squats
Stand in front of a chair and bend your knees and slowly sit down until you come in contact with the chair. Keep your back straight and spread your arms for balance. Slowly stand back up and repeat for fifteen repetitions. Once this becomes too easy you can try it while holding weights or something heavy. This exercise will build strength and muscle in the thighs, hips and glutes.
2. Wall Pushups
Stand with your arms extended out in front and your feet shoulder width apart. Place your hands on the wall at chest level. Lean your body into the wall by bending your arms, then slowly push back to your original position. Do this for fifteen repetitions. To make it more difficult, try it using just one arm. Then you can advance to floor pushups. This exercise will build strength and muscle in your chest, shoulders and arms (triceps).
3. Bicep Curls
This is another arm exercise, this time the front of your arms, the biceps. These muscles are used every day carrying groceries and opening car doors and suchlike. Stand with a dumbell in each hand and your arms by your sides. Slowly bend your right arm lifting the dumbell up to your shoulder and down again. Repeat with your left arm for fifteen repetitions each. Instead of dumbells you can use soup tins or anything you can hold that has weight.
When doing weight bearing exercises always make sure you breathe correctly. Breathe in when lowering the weight and breathe out when lifting the weight. As you progress you can use heavier weights or objects that are comfortable to hold.
Repeat the above exercises two to three times per week and increase the sessions to three sets of fifteen repetitions each. You will marvel at how well you are feeling, I guarantee it!
Once the above exercises become too easy, you can move on to pumping some real iron.