Say Goodbye to Your Grandma’s Exercise Routine

We all know that basic movements like walking and stretching are important elements of a lifestyle at every age. Just 30 minutes of walking every day can increase cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones, reduce excess body fat, and boost muscle power and endurance.

You may be surprised to learn that the benefits of weight training are even more important when it comes to improving longevity and decreasing falls. Many people know weightlifting is hugely beneficial in younger adults but think light walking or recreational activity is “good enough” for seniors. There is a misconception that older-aged individuals should stay away from any strenuous activity that can build strength like weightlifting. Unfortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Zach Rynders, Doctor of Physical Therapy, Strength and Conditioning Coach, and founder of Live To Ascend HeathCare Partners, points out that science has shown how we continue to build muscle mass well into our 80’s and even beyond. “A lot of people are intimidated by weight training. They think that they need to lift huge amounts of weight to see a benefit, and that simply isn’t true,” Zach explains.

Zach and his team say that, on average, participants in their strength training program, which includes adaptable programming for people at every fitness level, see a 30% increase in strength in less than six months of consistent training. This includes an increase in cardiovascular and musculoskeletal fitness, key factors in injury prevention among older adults. This is especially important for seniors who hope to remain active in their favorite activities and sports.

Of course, the greater the weight the more dramatic the results; however, you can get great results using weights as light as 2.5 to 5 pounds. Resistance bands are another great and easy-to-use option. Safety is top priority with any fitness program. To keep it safe, carefully warm up and cool down, and focus on using the correct range of motion. You should always share new or current physical endeavors with your doctor and get the two thumbs up from them as well.

ANGELA BYRGE