Cochrane study further proves benefits of strength training for seniors

Strength training isn’t just for young or middle-aged people. A study reported by webMD is the latest of countless reports that shows hard-core evidence that strength training can help seniors have a better quality of life.
IAfter more than 100 clinical trials, a recent report in the “Cochrane Library” showed that progressive resistance training can help older people in daily activities, such as climbing stairs and fixing dinner.
“Cochrane Library” looked at 121 trials that included data collected from 6,700 older participants. In the vast majority of the studies, progressive resistance training, aka PRT, was done two to three times a week at a high intensity.
PRT can be performed with free weights, exercise machines, or elastic bands. The key is that the resistance, or level of difficulty, increase as the person gets stronger.
This kind of exercise can be particularly useful for seniors because people generally lose muscle strength as they age. Strength training also improves muscle density.
When many people think of weightlifting or strength training they picture young, athletic men and women powering up barbells and dumbbells.
But weightlifting, also known as strength training, can greatly benefit people into their 80s and even 90s? Who knows, maybe there are even some 100-year-olds who do light arm curls or leg lifts.
A relative of mine in her 60s was recently diagnosed with early stage osteoporosis. One of the first things the doctor told her was to begin a controlled weightlifting program to strengthen her muscles.
Seniors are often encouraged to do exercises such as arm curls with light weights, leg lifts and other exercises depending on their health. By exercising with weights, people of any age can get their circulation flowing, burn off calories and improve their muscle tone.
If you’re interested in weightlifting or have a family member who it might benefit, but aren’t sure how to go about it, here are some basic tips you should know:
* Before starting a weightlifting program, or any new fitness regimen for that matter, check with your doctor. A doctor can help decide if you face any risks or need to make modifications for your health and safety.
* Talk to a trainer or research on your own by reading books or magazines to find a beginner’s program that fits your goals.
* Emphasize proper form over trying to lift the most weight you can. It’s much more important to use proper form because if you’re doing exercises wrong there is a greater risk of injury.
* For beginners, make sure you can do 12-15 repetitions of an exercise several workouts in a row before considering to increase the weight you’re lifting.
* If you work out at a gym, don’t be intimidated by other weightlifters. We all start somewhere and all have our adversity we face from time to time. Work hard, do your best and you can feel just worthy of being there as the next guy or gal.
* Remember to schedule at least one or two off days during the week as recovery time is crucial to building muscle.
* Finally, don’t give up. Stick with it and you will see results in no time. A strong, muscular body will help make you feel years younger and better support your spine and the rest of your body.
At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at

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