Why strength training is critical as we age

Physiotherapist Jason Lee explains what we should be doing to keep our muscles strong.

Why strength training is critical as we age

Regular strengthening and resistance training is beneficial at any age. However, for older Australians, strength training is critical to prevent muscle loss associated with ageing. Physiotherapist Jason Lee explains what we should be doing.

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Do you know what strength training is? If you don’t, you’re not alone. Here’s what you should know about strength training and how often you should be performing strength exercises.

A recent survey conducted by the CSIRO found that 86 per cent of Australians over the age of 71; and 65 per cent aged between 51 and 70 did not think resistance training was important for overall health. 

Resistance and strength training includes working your muscles against some form of weight or resistance. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go to the gym or use equipment. In fact, resistance training can include doing body weight exercises in your home. 

At any age, resistance training can help prevent and manage conditions such as osteoporosis, arthritis, type II diabetes and heart or cardiac disease. A good guide is to implement strength training twice weekly. 

When we include strength training in your weekly regime, we usually count exercise in repetitions or sets. A repetition is generally considered one complete movement of an activity. For example, if you stand up, we count one complete repetition. A set is a group of repetitions. 

The weight will differ for each individual; whether that be light or heavy. In order to gain the benefits of strength or resistance training, exercises should be performed up to the point where it becomes difficult to perform another repetition. For example, if using lighter resistance, more repetitions and more sets will be required to create fatigue. If a heavier weight is used, fewer repetitions are generally required.

If you haven’t exercised before, be sure to speak with your GP or your local health professional. Working closely with an appropriate health professional who has a good understanding of your medical and exercise history will ensure that your strength training will be beneficial and, most importantly, safe. 

In the next few weeks, I will put together some practical resistance exercises that can be performed using both body weight and equipment readily available in a gym.

Jason Lee is a physiotherapist. He is happy to answer any questions you may have. Simply send an email to newsletters@yourlifechoices.com.au

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    Disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner or health professional.





    COMMENTS

    To make a comment, please register or login
    johnp
    23rd Apr 2019
    10:28am
    Terrific.
    Re.
    ""In the next few weeks, I will put together some practical resistance exercises that can be performed using both body weight
    ""
    Sometimes YLC has really good info !!
    Ted Wards
    23rd Apr 2019
    10:37am
    I go three times a week to the gym and do 40 minutes cardio then 20 minutes resistance training. Its not that hard and in fact can be quite a social experience and helps to reduce that feeling of isolation. There are also community centres who have lots of affordable exercise activities on to keep you motivated. Exercising alone at home is no fun and you need an incredible amount of motivation to keep doing it. Come out, have fun, and maintain your independence!
    Greg
    23rd Apr 2019
    11:10am
    If I resist doing it is that "resistance " training?
    Jenny
    23rd Apr 2019
    12:23pm
    LOL.
    Dancer
    23rd Apr 2019
    4:14pm
    I have done resistance / weight bearing exercise for years at local gym - but unfortunately that didn't prevent a knee injury and minor fracture that has stopped me from going now for nearly 12 months. I'd love to get back to the gym but "the leg" still won't let me!
    Dancer
    23rd Apr 2019
    4:14pm
    I have done resistance / weight bearing exercise for years at local gym - but unfortunately that didn't prevent a knee injury and minor fracture that has stopped me from going now for nearly 12 months. I'd love to get back to the gym but "the leg" still won't let me!
    cupoftea
    23rd Apr 2019
    5:39pm
    I got a exercise bike and a rowing machine I get on them to keep my sugars down they didn't cost that much on the internet and I fined it good as I am off my insulin now which is great and I can use them when I feel like and you can tension them up
    cupoftea
    23rd Apr 2019
    5:39pm
    I got a exercise bike and a rowing machine I get on them to keep my sugars down they didn't cost that much on the internet and I fined it good as I am off my insulin now which is great and I can use them when I feel like and you can tension them up
    Troubadour
    23rd Apr 2019
    8:33pm
    Is it possible to give us a set of appropriate exercises - I misplaced some
    you gave us before.
    Good choices
    28th Apr 2019
    10:31am
    Cupoftea.............Stretching also brings your blood sugars down


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