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The Importance of Resistance Training for Older Women

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The Importance of Resistance Training for Older Women

The benefits of resistance training is well documented and something that should be done by all, even older women. Often, older adults abandon the notion of strength training in their later years as typically it can be viewed as redundant or possibly dangerous. The typical view is that part of aging is a loss of strength. flexibility and balance although this doesn't have to be the case.

Let me give you an example: Linda (60 year old) is a member of Inner Athlete and has been for the last 2 years. She initially came to us with issues with arthritis, inflammation, joint stiffness and being overweight. She is also a mother to 3 kids and a grandmother to 3 grandkids. But we found out her goal is to see her grandkids grow up to be adults and avoid an early death. Which also meant she could no longer neglect her health. She has trained 2 times a week since and even during the lockdown with the help of her coach. Now she's able to go on long walks without running out of breath, play with her grandkids, and feels more confident in herself that she can live out her golden years the way she wants to.

This is one of the many success stories we hear from older females who take up resistance training!

From a health prospective, below are many more of the profound health benefits to older women taking up strength training:

  • Prevent the onset of sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass), osteoporosis, and increases in fat mass
  • Improve balance and bone mineral density
  • Enables physical independence - ensuring physical longevity
  • Improvements in sleep
  • Manage chronic disease
  • Improve mental acuity and awareness
  • Improve hormone regulation
  • Improvement to everyday life eg: walking up stairs, general chores, playing with kid etc
  • Great for social interaction

All these factors combine to improve the quality of life and longevity of life, just as it has for Linda!

But here's one of the biggest areas that heavily affect older females, and that is falls!

Falls are far too prevalent in today's society regarding older populations. One study has found that over one-third of Australians over 65 fall once or more a year. This can lead to significant issues such as reduced quality of life, financial burden, fear of falling and of course significant injury.

Recent research has now informed us that the falling likelihood can be drastically decreased via an adequate strength training program. This program should be implemented as early as possible as it will delay the onset of the likelihood of falling as well as provide the capability to exercise safely and confidently. When exercising exclusively as a falling deterrent, movements focused on balance and unilateral strength and stability are optimal. Exercise such as single leg holds and lunge variations are great for this.

Just before you go run out and start...

Before you begin any exercise program, a pre-screening assessment with a reputable health professional or strength coach should be of high priority. This will involve a discussion into your exercise/injury history, goals as well as a movement analysis to assess any issues that may arise.

Then the prescription and delivery of a suitable exercise program needs to be in line with your goals and what you're currently capable of doing.

When we start many of our older members, we begin using variations of basic exercises that can be performed safely, working at an appropriate effort to help you get stronger and help build your confidence.

Getting into resistance training as early as possible is your best bet to ensure a fruitful and stress-free later life as maintaining strength is far easier than building it as you enter older adulthood. In accompaniment to a well-rounded resistance training schedule, aerobic exercise should be done in unison, to ensure you have a well-rounded exercise program to ensure longevity and overall health.

To find out how you can increase your longevity and lead a better quality of life, contact us today: info@inner-athlete.com.au.

James Waterhouse
Exercise Science Intern
Inner Athlete

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