I like to focus on the benefits of strength training for older women, not because they’re available just for that group, but because older women tend to avoid strength training. Some of my senior female clients avoid it because they grew up believing either that it was unladylike, built big muscles or was dangerous for people beyond a certain age. Sometimes, they believe all three myths. Older women get a dramatic benefit from building muscle tissue with strength training and it can lead to a reduction in medication and better health.
You’ll build muscle mass.
No, you won’t become the Incredible Hulk or start a race of muscular super seniors, but you will keep the muscle mass you need for a healthy life and everyday tasks or fun. As you age, you lose muscle mass. The American Council on Exercise estimated that between the age of 30 and 80 almost 40 percent of muscle mass is lost if you’re sedentary. That means you get weaker and unable to function like you did a few years prior. Eventually, it could mean you can’t live on your own. That would be a shame, since in many cases, it’s preventable.
More muscle mass means denser bones.
It may not seem like lifting weights or jumping could build your bones, but it does. It causes the muscles to pull against the bones and that starts the process of bone building. There’s a vast wealth of evidence that just doing strength training two to three times a week can help retain the calcium in the bones and improve bone formation.
You’ll help prevent chronic disease and improve conditions you already have.
If you presently have diabetes, back pain, osteoporosis, arthritis or even chronic depression, strength training can help relieve those symptoms and even help reverse them. Insulin resistance, the precursor to diabetes, is helped with resistance training and so are people with type 2 diabetes. Strength training increases the protein responsible for regulating how the body absorbs blood sugar.
- Boost your mental attitude with strength training. Getting older doesn’t have to mean getting angrier or depressed. When you workout, you burn off the hormones of stress that can cause you to get crankier. It also boosts the hormones that make you feel good and lift depression.
- Strength training burns calories and boosts your metabolism. A slow metabolism can cause weight gain and that can lead to a number of conditions. You’ll look fabulous, too.
- Deep sleep is harder to achieve when you age. Strength training helps you sleep better. A good night’s sleep is important for a healthy body, particularly for heart health.
- Strength training also improves balance and can be instrumental in reducing falls and accidents that may lead to ending independence.