One thing we’ve learned in the last few years is that “aging” doesn’t mean “stopping.” From getting a master’s degree in your 60s, to traveling the world in your 70s or taking up a new hobby every year of your 80s, there are plenty of options to keep you feeling younger than ever.
But feeling young doesn’t just happen. You must put in the effort to take care of your body. While many aging people enjoy a daily walk or bike ride, strength training is where it’s at if you want to look and feel your best no matter your age.
Strength training is the new aerobics
If you are of a certain age, you will remember the aerobics and cardio fads of the 80s. It was all about getting your heart rate up to burn fat.. Today strength training is regarded as the best option to give your body the total workout it needs in less time and with completely personalized movement.
Strength training refers to exercises that increase your heart rate, while also having you work against resistance. This resistance can be your own body weight, exercise bands, free weights, and even water in the pool. You can strengthen, tone, and build muscle all while burning fat, sometimes even more fat than if you just did cardio alone. Not only that, but strength training can also help to reduce the pain and stiffness that comes with arthritis, while increasing bone density and flexibility, regulating blood sugar, and improving balance and coordination.
Follow our tips
If you’re ready to add strength training into your exercise routine, read on to see the best tips for maturing adults:
- Strength train at least twice a week. You can hit the pause button on age-related muscle loss by incorporating some strength training into your week. Just make sure you check with your physician first to get the go-ahead.
- Take care with your joints. Injuries take longer to heal as you age, so be cautious when beginning any new movement. Incorporate full range movements at a pace you feel comfortable with.
- Don’t pick up the weights just yet. Start out your strength training journey by focusing on body weight resistance. Movements like squats, lunges, step ups, pushups, dips, and bicycle crunches use your own weight so you can gain your strength before moving onto any heavier lifting.
- Incorporate balance and flexibility. Strengthening your muscles isn’t the only way to decrease your risk for falls. Check out these exercises for some great suggestions on how to integrate balance and flexibility into your routine.
- Warm up and cool down. With stretching and gentle movement, warming up and cooling down will lessen your risk for injury or soreness. As we age, it’s more and more important to take extra care of our bodies, especially the joints. Make sure you leave some time before and after your workout for a nice stretch.
Sign me up!
Strength training comes in a variety of packages, and the Hancock Wellness Centers provide them all. HIIT is a short but intense workout that can be tailored to your level of conditioning. Aquatics classes like water Tabata, yoga and walking are a great way to cushion the joints and enjoy the buoyancy of water, while meeting resistance that will strengthen the muscles. You can also find specialized classes for those who suffer from chronic conditions, such as arthritis, Parkinson’s, or even cancer. Pilates, yoga, and other group classes that focus on strength are available multiple times a day for convenience and ease.
No matter your age, there has never been a better time to add strength training into your daily or weekly routine. It’s never too late to feel and look your best!