Advancing age (65+) is associated with a loss of muscle mass, which is due to physical inactivity and the selective loss of Type II (fast-twitch) muscle fibers. This reduction in muscle mass is directly related to a loss of muscle strength and power.
Resistance training has the potential to offset this age-related decline in the following ways:
- Increases muscle strength
- Increases muscle endurance
- Increases muscle mass
- Increases muscle fiber size
- Increases muscle metabolic capacity
- Increases resting metabolic rate
- Decreases body fat
- Increases bone mineral density
- Increases physical function
Although the aging process is associated with several undesirable changes in body composition, older men and women maintain their ability to make significant improvements in strength and functional ability. Both aerobic and resistance exercise are beneficial for older adults, but only resistance training can increase muscle strength and muscle mass.
Before participation in an exercise program, seniors should be pre-screened (physical exam, medical history, risk factors) to determine the most appropriate type of activity. Additionally, older adults should:
- Perform an appropriate, low-intensity warm-up prior to each exercise session
- Use a level of resistance that does not overwhelm the musculoskeletal system
- Allow 48 to 72 hours between exercise sessions
- Perform all exercises within a range-of-motion that is pain-free
- Always exercise under the supervision of a trained instructor
Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!