Happy elderly man exercising with dumbbells

From Sharp Health News, a publication of Sharp HealthCare

Staying physically active is critical to slowing the aging process and staying healthy. However, while cardio training offers incredible benefits, it is not the only form of exercise you need to engage in as you get older. The loss of muscle tissue due to aging can affect older adults’ ability to perform many routine activities and lead an independent lifestyle.

Fortunately, regular strength training — also called resistance training and weightlifting — can help prevent or reverse muscle loss. When strength training, you use your own body weight or various tools, such as dumbbells, barbells, or resistance bands, for resistance to build muscle, strength, and endurance.

Strength training can help:

  • Maintain muscle tissue and strength
  • Contribute to better balance and coordination, and reduce the risk of falls
  • Preserve bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis
  • Improve sleep and reduce depression
  • Help with fat loss

Sharp suggests the following 5 tips to begin a strength training routine:

  1. Train the upper body on the first day and the lower body on the second day. Upper body training may include working the chest, back, shoulders, biceps, and triceps. Lower body training may include working the legs, glutes, and abs.
  2. When picking a weight level, choose a weight that can be lifted at least 10 to 15 times in 1 set. Begin with 1 or 2 sets of 10 to 15 reps.
  3. Rest for 45 to 60 seconds between sets.
  4. Progress gradually by adding more sets and more reps, or increasing the weights every few weeks.
  5. To improve flexibility, make sure to stretch after weight-lifting sessions.

If you are a beginner, consider working with a personal trainer to learn how to lift weights properly. If this is not an option, there are many dependable online fitness channels to help you on your strength training journey.

The VEBA Resource Center offers Intro to Strength Training Classes. Join us for an all-levels class that teaches different methods of strength training. From resistance bands to weights and body weight workouts, find out what works best for you! Check out our calendar to sign up for an upcoming class.