I had a conversation with a client last week which prompted me to write this piece.
Usually, when looking to introduce resistance training, strength training, weight training etc… into a rehabilitation program for older adults the usual responses include:
I can’t do that because…
I’m too old for that
I just want to walk better.
In relation to number (1) what follows is either a misconception about exercise or something they have been told by a doctor, physiotherapist, chiropractor, internet etc… that they shouldn’t be lifting weights (or anything) because of a previous or current problem.
This prehistoric view of exercise and weight training in particular completely disregards the literal ‘mountain’ of evidence promoting resistance training, especially in the older adult.
“YOU’RE NEVER TOO OLD TO BENEFIT FROM RESISTANCE TRAINING"
Roughly from the age of 30 physically inactive people can lose between 3-5% of muscle mass every decade. So by the time you retire at around 70 you ‘could’ have lost upwards of 20% of your muscle mass. (This is a massive amount).
Especially as we get older, staying strong with good muscle mass is essential for maintaining a good quality of life.
Resistance training as little as 1 x week has significant proven health benefits for quality of life and daily function.
The international guidelines recommend 1-2 times per week resistance training alongside some form of aerobic exercise.
2 x 1 hour sessions a week is enough to:
Reduce frequency/risk of falls.
Reduce risk of diabetes and long term blood glucose levels.
Improve bone density (especially in post menopausal women).
Improve heart and cardiovascular function.
Improve cognitive function
Maintain/improve quality of life and independence
Why wouldn’t you want ‘ALL’ that???
For as little as 2 hours a week.
So…Back to the reason for the blog. The normal direction of the conversation tends to be uncertain regarding resistance training.
However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that one big reason for this client having not pursued resistance training before was that they felt the classes aimed at people their age (over 60) were likely not going to be hard enough.
Even with an excellent level of aerobic fitness from cycling and walking 5 times a week. They still noted a lack of strength when gardening and lifting grandchildren.
For this person and many others walking is NOT ENOUGH to keep you strong.
If you’re struggling to garden, lift grandchildren or get up the stairs. Don’t give in. Train yourself to do it again.
Aging is no reason to stop enjoying life.
Life’s too short to be a patient, take control
Thanks for reading