Regular physical exercise plays an important role in a healthy lifestyle, it promotes health, reduces risks of CAD, cancer and many other diseases. Walking, jogging, treadmill work are all popular and good choices. However, the value of strength-building exercises are often overlooked. The truth is strength training is critical to preserving the ability to perform the most ordinary activities of daily living — and to maintaining an active and independent lifestyle, for anyone over 50.
A 70-year-old man/woman loses 30% of the muscle strength comparing with a 30-year-old. Then he or she keep losing up to 50% of muscle strength by the age of 80. For the elder, aerobic exercise only isn’t adequate, because the elder will become weaker and less functional as time goes on with only aerobic exercise. The only way to keep the body strong and functional is to do strength exercise.
What is strength training?
Strength training encompasses any of the following:
- Free weights, such as barbells and dumbbells
- Ankle cuffs and vests containing different amounts of weight
- Resistance (elastic) bands of varying length and tension that you flex using your arms and legs
- Exercises that use your body weight to create resistance against gravity.
How much do you need?
A beginner’s strength-building workout takes as little as 20 minutes, and you won’t need to grunt, strain, or sweat like a cartoon bodybuilder, either. The key is developing a well-rounded program, performing the exercises with good form, and being consistent. You will experience noticeable gains in strength within four to eight weeks.
There are many ways to get started. You can buy your own equipment and use it at home, or go to health clubs which offers most equipment choices. Books and videos can show you some basic moves. Many senior centers and adult education programs offer strength training classes as well.
The key points are to:
- develop a routine
- begin with mild muscle training
- don’t you injure yourself
Over-training elevates the risk of getting injury. If you feel severe muscle soreness during the training, or moderate muscle soreness that persists more than a few days, it means you need to back off a bit.