6 benefits to pumping your daily supplement of iron as you age

August 7, 2018

Growing older can make daily activities seem much more difficult than they were in younger years.

Although these changes may seem like a natural part of getting older, getting some exercise could make a big difference.

Walking and jogging are good ways to exercise, but adding strength training to the routine is critical for long-term health.

“Weight-bearing exercises and strength training are both an essential part of our rehabilitative plans,” said Deanna Litao, director of rehab at English Oaks Convalescent and Rehabilitation Center. “I have seen the positive impact it makes on the length of recovery and in preventing future injuries.”

Strength training, which involves using body weight, free weights, or other resistance, can strengthen your body and lessen the effects of aging. From balance improvements to a longer life, strength training has important benefits throughout life.

Live independently

Muscle mass decreases over time. A quarter of a person’s muscle strength may be lost by age 70, and half by age 90. Losing strength can be a major hindrance to independent living because common daily activities can become nearly impossible.

Although losing strength is a common consequence of aging, exercising can help build and maintain muscle mass. Using weights or resistance for exercising is the best way to build up strength.

Improve your balance

One in four Americans over the age of 65 falls every year, causing serious injuries and even death. A serious fall can cause a lower quality of life due to physical injuries and the fear of falling again.

Falls can occur for a variety of reasons, including eyesight problems, slower reactions and balance problems. Strength training can help prevent falls by building up muscles and improving balance.

Reduce arthritis symptoms

Arthritis is a common ailment among older individuals. Some of the symptoms of arthritis can be managed with strength training.

Exercising areas affected by arthritis strengthens the muscles and bones and lubricates joints, which can help reduce pain. Modifications can be made to account for limitations caused by arthritis, but weight or resistance exercises are still possible.

Fight obesity

Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight often takes a lot of work, and strength training can be a valuable tool in the process. Strength training builds muscle, which in turn speeds up the metabolism. A higher metabolism burns more calories, both during and after exercising.

Incorporate strength training into your exercise routine to help you lose weight, and stick with it for the long run to keep the weight off.

Strengthen your bones

Millions of older Americans suffer from osteoporosis, which can cause broken bones and lower a person’s quality of life.

Exercising with weights or resistance can help reduce the effects of the disease by building stronger bones. Putting stress on bones can cause bone growth, which strengthens them and can prevent fractures.

Live longer

Recent research suggests that strength training can reduce the risk of early death by 23 percent. A study also showed that exercises using body weight, such as sit-ups, decreased the chance of cancer-related death by 31 percent.

“The fitness industry markets primarily to a younger audience, but people of all ages can benefit from daily exercise that includes weight-bearing exercises, such as free weights, lunges, all push-ups, planks, and other forms of strength training that safely use one’s weight,” Litao said.

Combining strength training with aerobic exercise, and doing it on its own, can improve the quality of life and overall health.

Strength training does more than just build muscle. It can improve quality of life by making the body stronger in a variety of areas. Talk to your doctor about the best way to incorporate strength training into your exercise routine.

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