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June 2020

Seniors: Find Your Strength Inspiration

Strength training. It’s something we know we’re supposed to do, but it can be so easy ignore. After all, gyms are intimidating—especially for older adults—and not everyone is motivated by the thought of bigger, stronger muscles.

But what about the thought of still being able to climb stairs in the years to come? Or play with your grandkids? Strength training delivers a lot more than just aesthetic results. Find what motivates you and use that as your inspiration to incorporate strength and resistance exercises into your weekly routine.

Live better, feel better

Strength training preserves your independence as you age—something no miracle pill can offer. Small increases in muscle strength make a big difference when it comes to everyday activities such as carrying groceries from your car to the kitchen, taking laundry up two flights of stairs, lifting bags of mulch in the garden … you name it.

 

And it doesn’t just impact how you live, but also how you feel and think. Strength training provides numerous benefits, including:

  • Improved mood

  • Decreased anxiety

  • Reduced anger and confusion

  • Better problem-solving skills

  • Lower LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol levels

  • Higher HDL, or “good,” cholesterol levels

No more excuses

Knowing you want to start strength training is one thing, but banishing exercise excuses is another. Here’s a guide to help:

Excuse: I don’t have enough time to exercise.

Solution: Two days a week, spend 30 minutes doing strength or resistance exercises—that’s all it takes to see benefits. And don’t worry if you can’t get to a gym; those extra soup cans and water bottles in the pantry will work as weights. 

Excuse: I just had a hip replacement.

Solution: Don’t let a hip (or knee) replacement keep you from exercising. In fact, it might just be the perfect reason to start exercising since your joints feel better. Talk with your healthcare provider to make sure you’re doing the moves that are best for you. 

Excuse: I don’t know which exercises to do or how to do them.

Solution: Ask your provider to recommend some exercises—it’s important to talk with him or her anyway before starting a new workout routine. For more strength training ideas, visit the American Council on Exercise’s exercise library and browse by experience level.

 

 

Online Medical Reviewer: Brian McDonough, MD
Date Last Reviewed: 11/1/2019
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