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Strength Training for Older Adults
Improve Your Health
Focus on Your Muscles
- Consult with your doctor—You need to make certain you are medically stable before beginning any kind of physical activity program.
- Get good information—Talk with your doctor, read reputable books, and visit reliable websites. Seek out exercises that are appropriate for your age and physical condition. Remember that workouts that fit naturally with your lifestyle are more likely to become permanent.
- Get the proper equipment or join a health club—Try dumbbells and ankle weights and even using your own body weight. For example, doing squats can help improve body alignment and an overall sense of balance.
- Aim to do your strength-training exercises at least two days a week.
- Lift as heavy a weight as you can while maintaining proper form.
- Note: You will need to begin with a very light weight and slowly progress to more weight.
- Work up to doing two sets of 10-15 repetitions.
- Exercise slowly and use a full range of motion.
- Work on paired muscle groups to get the most benefit. For example, if you are exercising your biceps, also include exercises that will strengthen your triceps.
American Council on Exercise http://www.acefitness.com
National Institute on Aging http://www.nia.nih.gov
Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology http://www.csep.ca
Healthy Canadians http://www.healthycanadians.gc.ca
20 frequently asked questions. National Institute on Aging website. Available at: http://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/exercise-physical-activity-your-everyday-guide-national-institute-aging/20. Updated September 30, 2013. Accessed February 19, 2014.
Chapter 5: active older adults. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/chapter5.aspx. Updated October 16, 2008. Accessed February 19, 2014.
Sample exercises: strength. National Institute on Aging website. Available at: http://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/exercise-physical-activity/sample-exercises-strength. Updated September 30, 2013. Accessed February 19, 2014.
Why strength training? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/growingstronger/why/index.html. Updated February 24, 2011. Accessed February 19, 2014.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 02/2014
- Update Date: 02/19/2014