Benefits of Strength Training in Older Adults
Strength training is often put in the back seat when it comes to ways of improving health in older adults. Although quality nutrition and cardiovascular exercise are essential to staying healthy while aging, strength training has a multitude of benefits both physically and psychologically. Physical adaptations include but are not limited to increased bone density, greater muscular control, and improved gait. The present study by Kekalainen et al. looks into the psychological effects strength training has.
The study analyzed the effects of 9 months of resistance training on adults aged 65-75 training 2 times per week. The first measure that was looked at was quality of life, determined by the subjects perception of their position in life, whether culturally, socially, or environmentally. A questionnaire was employed to determine quality of life based on these parameters. The results found that even after 3 months of strength training, quality of life was improved. Specific improvements included increased sense of physical safety and access to leisure activity, public health services, and public transportation.
The second measurement was sense of coherence, or the confidence one has that aspects of their environment are predictable and that things will work out as the should. A questionnaire was given to determine sense of coherence as well. Unlike quality of life, sense of coherence took a longer time, the entire 9 months to improve. The researchers concluded that physical activity must be consistent and continuous for sense of coherence to improve.
The third measurement was depressive symptoms. The researchers observed that a decrease in depressive symptoms were largely related to improved quality of life. In the first 3 months of training depressive symptoms were reduced.
Although many older adults can be turned away from strength training when seeing younger lifters moving very heavy weight, it is important to realize that field of strength training has a very broad range, and different exercises and intensities will be used depending on the goals of the individual. Healthy aging is very attainable, and the hardest part is making the first step of signing up for a gym membership, talking to a family member or friend, or asking us about how to get started.
Interested in reading the entire article? Find it here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5846971/
Not all adults are looking for ways to improve quality of life, but just want to get fit and feel strong. Check out our training program “50 and Fit” HERE!