Resistance exercise may conjure up an image of an athlete hoisting barbells twice his or her body weight. While such displays of strength and control are impressive, a person need not be a weightlifter to reap the benefits of resistance training. In fact, since people lose muscle mass as they age, exercises that restore and maintain strength are vital for everyone in their golden years. Here are some valuable tips for resistance training that will keep baby boomers robust and less likely to suffer injury due to weak muscle tone—and maintain optimal brain function. (Studies demonstrate that such exercises improve cognitive function, keeping dementia at bay.)

Keep Reading: ‘How to Prevent Injury in the Elderly Via Exercise’ »

#1: Get a medical approval

This is especially important if you have a current or past injury or a chronic illness or condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes.

#2: Warm up and cool down

Avoid the temptation to jump into an exercise regimen. Warm-up and cooling-off exercises make muscles supple and prevent injury. Ankle circles are great for lower legs and feet. Sit in a chair, raise one knee, draw a circle with the ankle 20 times, do the same in the opposite direction, and repeat with the other foot.

#3: Breathe properly

Avoid holding your breath while exercising. Relaxed breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth will maintain a steady oxygen supply to muscles and joints.

#4: Give your muscles a break

Allow 48 hours to elapse between resistance training or exercise legs one day and arms the next.

#5: Build gradually

Start out with little or no resistance. A good rule of thumb is increasing weights when you can comfortably complete two sets of ten repetitions. And hold off on progressing if you have been ill, are injured, or if muscles are very tender.

#6: Schedule Workout

The American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association’s guidelines call for at least two and a half hours of exercise a week. Resistance training should take place two or more days weekly (leaving the above-mentioned 48 hours in between).

#7: Fancy equipment is not required

One fitness professional says that nothing more than a chair is needed. Sitting and standing works wonders on lower body strength, and the chair offers support for leg lifts and circles. Modified push-ups, with your knees on the floor and hands on the chair, are perfect for increasing upper body vigor.

#8: No pain does not mean any gain.

Even though some muscle and joint discomfort are normal, hold off on any exercise that causes pain.

#9: Stand up straight.

While it is not necessary to balance a book on your head while you work out, good standing and sitting posture are essential to a beneficial session. It keeps your spine properly positioned, relieving muscle and connective tissue strain.

Following these simple guidelines will make you stronger, healthier, happier, and more clear-headed. Even if your former idea of exercise was walking to the refrigerator for a snack, it is never too late to become a fitness aficionado.

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.