While strength training may not seem like an appropriate form of exercise for men and women in their 70s or 80s, numerous studies have shown that if done regularly, such exercises don't only build up bone and muscle, they counteract weakness and frailty that are usually associated with aging.
The Benefits of Strength Training for Seniors
• Strength training can reduce the effects of osteoporosis, a condition in which skeletal material begins to weaken and deteriorate, potentially causing deformity and fractures in the spine and hips.
• Seniors with arthritis can also benefit from strength training exercises, helping to strengthen the joint cartilage.
• Strength training is essential for seniors who have difficulty with balance. Balance often declines with age, as a result of muscular and strength tone.
• Some relief of symptoms associated with pulmonary disease, may be possible with strengthening of the abdomen and chest muscles.
• A low intensity strength training program can reduce the risk of orthopedic injury among people who suffer from obesity.
• Strength training exercises are beneficial for those with Type II Diabetes , helping to control blood sugar and enhancing your quality of life.
• Back problems may also improve with stretches and strengthening exercises that are focused on the lumbar and sacral region.
Prior to exercising take note of the following:
• Make sure you warm up at least 10 minutes before exercise and cool down, for 10 minutes after.
• While some soreness in the abdominal muscles can be expected, stop if you feel pain in your joints.
• Be aware of your posture while exercising, maintaining an upright posture.
• Don't hold your breath while exercising.
• When using weights, don't grip onto them so tightly.
• All movements should be done in a slow to moderate manner.
8 Strength Training Exercises
1. Bent Knee Raise
An ideal exercise if suffering from back pain.
1. Lie down on your back, keep your knees bent and tighten your abdominal muscles, by softly pressing your belly into your spine.
2. Exhale, lift your knees one at a time toward your chest. Hold for 5 seconds.
3. Inhale, return both legs to the floor.
4. Repeat for a total of 10 times.
2. Eccentric Straight Leg Raise
A great workout for your abdominal and hip flexor muscles.
1. Lie on your back, tighten your abdominal muscles.
2. Exhale, bring your knee up towards your chest, keeping your left leg on the floor.
3. Straighten the right leg and on an inhalation, slowly lower to the floor.
4. Proceed with 10 repetitions on each leg.
3. Hip Flexion
A lower back exercise to improve your lower back range of motion and flexibility.
1. Position yourself on your hands and knees, ensuring that your back remains straight and your hips are in a neutral position.
2. Slowly move your hips back, keeping your spine as straight as possible.
3. Return to position 1 and do 10 repetitions.
4. Curl Ups
This abdominal exercise helps with posture and balance by strengthening your core muscles.
1. Start on your back with your knees bent and arms on your chest. Keep your abdominal muscles tight.
2. Exhale as you lift your shoulders off the ground.
3. Hold, keeping your tummy muscles tight.
4. Inhale, releasing back to the starting position and repeat for a total of 10 times.
5. Pelvic Tilt
An ideal exercise to stretch the lower back and hip muscles. A great exercise for back pain or for a tired or sore back after a long day of walking.
1. Lie down with your knees bent. Tighten your abdominal muscles, pressing your lower back into the bed or floor.
2. Relax and repeat 10 times.
6. Overhead Elbow Extension
This exercise strengthens your upper arm muscles and improves your ability to lift your arms above your shoulders.
1. Hold a light weight in your hand and position your arm overhead.
2. Exhale and straighten out your arm toward the ceiling, inhaling return to start.
3. Do the exercise with each arm for a total of 10 times.
7. Shoulder Rolls
This exercise improves mobility in the shoulders and stabilizes your shoulder blades for heavier lifting.
1. Stand or remain seated with light weights in your hands.
2. Keep your arms by your side, and your feet shoulder width apart.
3. Exhale, raise your shoulders up toward the ears, backwards and down.
4. Repeat 15 to 20 times.
8. Upright Rows
A strength training exercise to increase strength in your upper arms and back.
1. Stand with weights in hand in front of your hips. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart.
2. Lift the weight up toward your chin, bending your elbows.
3. Return to position 1 and repeat the exercise 10 times.