The idea of lifting any weight whether it's a few shopping bags into the car or a dumbbell at the gym can seem daunting to a lot of us. It can be hard enough at times to move yourself, never mind adding an external load. However, the benefits of weight training are undeniable at any age. Benefits from weight training include improving: bone mineral density, balance, mobility, strength and the ability to reduce the signs and symptoms of numerous chronic diseases etc.
Like any experience whether it is something you have done before or a brand new venture, beginning a training program can be the hardest part. The best advice we can give is, set some simple goals, join a group, get a trainer or find a gym buddy. No matter how you choose to train or who you choose to train with, make sure you are carrying out the exercises safely.
As we get older the fear of falling is something that creeps into the minds of most. Unfortunately this fear is well founded as many of us decrease our physical activity as we age. This decrease in activity can lead to a greater prevalence of diseases, such as Osteoporosis. A condition that makes the bones more brittle and weak, due to demineralisation. This condition is common in the older generation, particularly women who have undergone menopause. Unfortunately, a fall coupled with the presence of Osteoporosis can lead to an increased chance of bone fractures. A great way to strengthen your bones and augment the affects of aging is weight training. Weight training can help to strengthen bones as it adds an external load to the movement you are performing. Contracting muscles in response to added load causes a higher degree of torque or pulling on the bone. This extra stress stimulates the bone to increase its bone mineral density. Therefore, creating a stronger more robust bone. This can decrease the risk of fractures from a fall.
Increased mobility and weight training may seem like they don't go together, however, a well tailored program that uses full range of motion will help increase your mobility, as well as, your strength within these new ranges. This doesn't mean you have to spend longer on your warm up or cool down. You don't have to spend hours stretching either. Something as simple as increasing the depth of your squat, of course ensuring you have good technique throughout the movement, will improve your mobility. As we get older, a decrease in physical activity leads to shortening of muscles, tendons and ligaments. This shortening leads to a decrease in mobility, an increased risk of injury and an overall decrease in day to day physical performance.
Another way to help minimise your chances of falling and or injury is to add balance training to your workout. Single leg work in the gym and specific balancing drills placed into your warm up is a simple and effective way to increase your stability. All this practice should lead to greater proprioceptive feedback from your foot and ankle joints to help stabilise your body.
With the winter months truly upon us, the snow and ice is soon to follow. There is no better time to start your training. Help yourself mitigate the risks of falling by carrying out resistance training. If you are unsure of how to safely and correctly incorporate resistance training into your day to day regime, get in contact for a free 30 minute consultation and start your personal training journey.