As bone density and muscle mass decrease over time, older people become more at risk for falls. Many of these falls result in broken hips which require surgery and often lead to lack of independence for the senior involved. Strength training can improve your balance and help you gain muscle mass. It also increases the elasticity of your muscles and strengthens tendons, ligaments and connective tissues. All of these help to hold your body in an upright position.
What are some tips on gaining strength as we age?
- Before starting any new exercise program check with your doctor!
- The first step is nutrition and protein is very important in building muscles. Seniors need 46 to 56 grams of protein each day.
- Up your water intake. Most of us don’t come close to drinking enough water each day. Water helps your body absorb and metabolize nutrients.
- Always warm up before exercising with slow stretches which will help to make your body more flexible.
- Take it slow. Strength training programs change as you go along. Adding more resistance helps to build stronger muscles. Start with 10 minutes and gradually work your way up to 30 minutes.
- Just a small increase in muscle mass will improve your ability to climb stairs and get out of chairs more easily.
Strength training has been known to help with the pain from arthritis and since it increases your metabolic rate, it can help you lose weight. An ongoing program of strength training will improve glucose levels in those who have diabetes and help alleviate chronic pain. You’ll notice an increase in flexibility and your range of motion, both of which will help prevent falls.
Click here to read the article on how strength training might help prevent falls in seniors.