Despite some stereotypes, strength training can is not just for bodybuilders or gym rats. Strength training can be a valuable addition to fitness programs for the elderly. It can help slow some of the signs of aging and improve overall health.

Strength training can help seniors improve balance by building core muscles and reduce the overall frailty that is often associated with aging. It also builds bone and muscle density, which helps fight arthritis. In addition, studies have shown that regular strength training can reduce the effects of osteoporosis. It can also improve conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

Seniors of all fitness levels can add strength training to their fitness routines. Strength training can take many forms including, but not limited to, bodyweight exercises and weightlifting. Resistance bands or common household items such as water bottles can also be utilized for an effective workout. Bodyweight exercises such as push-ups or sit-ups can also be incorporated.

For beginners, starting small is the key to success. Don’t reach for the heaviest weights in the first workout. Start with little or no resistance if necessary. Aim for completing two strength training sessions per week. Ideally, each session should last 30 minutes. Allow at least one day of rest between sessions and work different muscle groups in each session. This will prevent overuse injuries.

There are numerous strength training exercises that can be completed in a chair. This can be essential for elderly people with mobility issues. For those without mobility issues, starting with seated versions of exercises such as bicep curls or overhead presses can be beneficial in building strength and improving posture. Other exercises such as knee extensions are normally performed while seated. Be sure to use a sturdy chair that provides adequate support for all seated exercises. Avoid using rolling chairs.

In order to build strength, you will have to increase the weight or resistance gradually. Experts recommend increasing the weight approximately every two weeks. For the first two weeks, you should stick to weights that you can lift eight times for each exercise. After you can complete 10 to 15 repetitions easily, it’s time to increase the weight. Add weight until you can only complete eight repetitions. Continue doing this as you gradually build strength.

Safety is an important part of any fitness regimen. For those engaged in strength training, this includes knowing your limitations. If you experience pain or fatigue after a few reps, switch to lighter weights. If you have trouble holding onto hand weights, wrist weights may be a better option. Also, be sure to avoid locking your joints in order to prevent injury. If you are unsure about how to complete an exercise, seek professional advice.

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Author's Bio: 

Aaron Dyer is associated with Home Care Assistance of Phoenix. He is focused towards helping seniors to maintain an active lifestyle for their well-being and that is what he writes about. He is a qualified nutritionist as well.