Why is strength training so important, and why do many older adults feel intimidated by it?
For seniors who are new to strength training, I really focus with them on just getting started. The concept of strength training can feel intimidating and too big to take on late in life. Many seniors have told me that they thought strength training was only for the young. But, nothing can be further from the truth! If anything, strength training becomes more and more important as we age.
I recommend that seniors begin with just two 30-minute workouts per week. Most people can commit to one hour a week no matter what.
I also try to connect the benefits of strength training to things that matter to them in their life. For example, for a senior who loves to play golf, I’d focus on the fact that strength training improves balance, coordination, and mobility – three factors that have a direct impact on whether or not they can still get out on the course as they age.
For a senior that is suffering from arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, back pain, or other illness, I would help them understand how strength training can lessen their symptoms and, in many cases, reduce the severity of the illness itself.
When seniors understand the impact that muscle strength has on their day-to-day life, it can help them overcome feelings of intimidation and resistance and just get started. Once they get going with a regular strength training routine, it doesn’t take long for them to feel the benefits. Most of the time it’s not maintaining the workouts that’s the most difficult part. The most difficult part is getting started.