The American Heart Association approves strength training for seniors as one of the most beneficial means of exercise. Studies prove that older adults who strength train can reduce their risk of a heart attack or stroke significantly.
What Studies Have Found
Research released by scientists from Iowa State University in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise followed approximately 13,000 individuals from 1987-2006. Researchers questioned respondents if they took part in strength training and then followed up with respondents after a span of five or ten years to find out if they had a heart attack or stroke.
It turns out that those who took part in strength training for just one hour per week saw a 40-70 percent reduction in their risk of heart attack or stroke, whether or not they took part in aerobic exercise.
According to the CDC, other research has found that strength training achieves this by enhancing the lipid profile of a senior and their overall strength.
What Strength Training Does for Seniors
Seniors might be eager to start strength or weight training but they might be intimidated by the duration or intensity of exercise. The good news is that strength training can be adjusted to a senior’s ability level.
Seniors who don’t feel they have the energy or time for long strength training sessions can still benefit from less frequent or short exercises. People may think they need to spend a lot of time lifting weights, but just two sets of bench presses that take less than five minutes could be effective.
How Seniors Can Strength Train Safely
You should talk to your doctor before you start a strength training scheme. You may want to do a stress test to make sure that you are fit to start training. You may be able to work with a physiotherapist or other professional to build cardiovascular health and strength to start weight lifting on your own if your doctor believes you are not yet ready.
You may also profit from having a personal trainer or physiotherapist who has experience to help seniors lift weights if your doctor provides you the go ahead. They can guide you to lift properly and make sure that you give proper rest to each set of muscles. For safety, professionals may have you start with just one set, twice a week.
It is important to note that some people who have certain health conditions should not lift weights under any circumstances, including those with:
-Acute infection of the heart or surrounding tissues
-Angina and other unstable coronary heart diseases
How Strength Training Increases Health
Strength training also has benefits that extend beyond heart health. Lee and his fellow researchers found that less than an hour of strength training reduced the risk of hypercholesterolemia and metabolic syndrome by almost a third.
Other research has demonstrated that strength training reduces your risk for and symptoms of:
Participating in aerobic exercise alongside strength training can provide even further health benefits, both for heart health and other diseases that seniors commonly face.
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