Friday, January 7, 2011

Can seniors delay nursing home reality through strength training?

Over the course of the last several decades, strength training has gone from obsolete to mainstream.  It has gained its due recognition and is now considered an essential element to a well-rounded fitness regimen, along with cardio and stretching.  But is lifting for everyone?

As lifting becomes more mainstream, some senior citizens wonder if it is a safe activity for them.  The short answer is yes.  If exercises are performed properly, lifting can be a safe and beneficial way to decrease the risk of Osteoporosis, a disease that literally means “porous bones." .

On this issue, WebMD cited a study and noted “postmenopausal women who participated in a strength training program for a year saw significant increases in their bone density in the spine and hips, areas affected most by osteoporosis in older women.”
Healing Moves Doctors cited by Natural News say a main reason elders need nursing home care is because of a decline in muscle mass: "Age-related declines in muscle and bone mass … can lead to frailty and fracture -- the primary reason older adults wind up in nursing homes."

For more on weight lifting for women in general, this CNN report discusses the importance of strength training as part of a woman’s exercise routine. 

What steps can you take to start implementing strength training into your daily routine? 

The Livestrong article entitled, Exercise Equipment for Seniors, explains why hydraulic-engineered equipment is best for seniors.  “Treadmills, ellipticals, stair climbers and press machines are all popular among seniors." Most gyms these days have a wide array of machinery.  Before you dive right in though, be sure to consult a personal trainer and your doctor. 

Image: graur razvan ionut /

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