Senior Corner: Resistance Training

How Much is Enough?

Part Two of a Three-Part Series

By:  Carol Kutik

Is it getting harder to carry the groceries, pick up the grandkids, get through the airport with the luggage, or accomplish daily chores? Resistance (strength) training may be just what you need to maintain an active, independent lifestyle.

The health and fitness benefits of resistance training are numerous, and include not only an overall strengthening of muscles for day-to-day activities, but also favorable changes in body composition (muscle vs. fat weight), stronger bones, lowered blood pressure, improved cholesterol and blood lipids, and an enhanced ability to use glucose (can help with diabetes). Unfortunately, older adults who do not engage in resistance training can experience dramatic decreases in strength, which can ultimately affect function and independence.

The best way to improve muscular fitness and physical performance is by including total body resistance training as a regular part of daily living. The following questions are helpful to consider before beginning any new exercise program:

  • What are your goals?
  • What is your experience with strength training?
  • What is your current level of muscular fitness?
  • What type of equipment is available to you – will you be exercising at a gym or at home?
  • Have you spoken with your doctor and do you have any health concerns that may limit or alter your program?
  • How much time can you schedule for resistance training and any other physical activity during the week?
  • Would instruction from a qualified fitness professional be beneficial?

Answers to these questions provide the basis for designing a safe, effective and enjoyable resistance training program that is consistent with your goals, attainable, and adaptable to changing needs and increased goals. Many individuals start to feel stronger and want more!

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