We all know it is important to stay physically fit and active, but why? Research has shown that exercise can reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 Diabetes, and some cancers. It also improves your mood and strengthens your muscles and bones. And no matter how old you are, it is never too late to start an exercise program. It has been proven that strength training can significantly increase strength in individuals and the cross-sectional area of muscles being used, even after the age of 80 (Hautier and Bonnefoy 475). These are some of the top reasons you should strength train as an older adult or senior:
The Decline of Muscle Mass and Strength
Muscle strength and mass begin to decline after the age of 30 and even more so after the age of 50 by a process called Sarcopenia. To slow this process, strength training should be a regular part of everyone’s workout regimen. Many studies have shown that training has significant effects on muscle mass and, to a greater extent, the force developed by a group of muscles (Hautier and Bonnefoy 476).
Reduces Your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease and Certain Cancers
Some risk factors for Cardiovascular Disease include obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. If you can reduce these risk factors it will decrease the chance of having a heart attack or experiencing another cardiac event, such as a stroke (Myers 1).
Research has shown that exercise can also reduce your risk for colon and breast cancer. People who are physically active have a lower risk of getting these two cancers than those who are not active. There has also been research that suggests that it can also reduce your risk of endometrial and lung cancer (“Physical Activity and Health”).
Reduces the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes is a preventable disease that has been shown to respond positively to healthy lifestyle changes.
The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), a major federally funded study of 3,234 people at high risk for diabetes, showed that people can delay and possibly prevent the disease by losing a small amount of weight (5 to 7 percent of total body weight) (“Preventing Diabetes”).
Decreases Fall Risk and Increases Functional Abilities
Through functional strength training exercises, you will you gradually improve your quality of life. Exercise makes everyday activities such carrying groceries, household chores, and using the stairs easier. Balance and muscle-strengthening activities each week along with moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like brisk walking, can help reduce your risk of falling. (“Physical Activity and Health”).
Hautier, C., and M. Bonnefoy. “Training for Older Adults.” Annales de réadaptation et de médecine physique 50 (2007): 475-79. Web. 26 May 2017.
Myers, Jonathan. “Exercise and Cardiovascular Health.” Circulation, vol 107, no. 1, pp. 1-3, 2003. Web. 26 May 2017.
“Physical Activity and Health.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 04 June 2015. Web. 26 May 2017
“Preventing Diabetes.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 09 Nov. 2016. Web. 26 May 2017.