Strength training is an important type of exercise, but becomes even more important as people age. Without resistance training, we begin to lose somewhere between 0.5% and 1% of our muscle mass each year.
With this loss of muscle mass comes higher levels of arthritis pain, more difficulty with things like getting out of a chair or going up steps, higher risk for falls and injuries, and eventually the possibility of loss of independence.
Research has shown that people of any age can benefit from strength training, so just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean that you can’t get any stronger. When many people hear “strength training” they automatically picture someone straining under a heavy barbell. However, strength training can be performed with resistance bands, machines, dumbbells, barbells, and many other types of equipment. The key to strength training is that the resistance gets stronger as you do.
The data we have also shows that increasing strength can reduce pain from arthritis, and make things like climbing steps, carrying groceries, taking a bath, and preparing a meal easier. Strength training can also help to reduce your risk of falls and maintain your independence.
If you’d like to begin strength training and start reaping the benefits, your physical therapist can help you design a plan that’s both effective and safe. They can teach you the correct movements and monitor your progress, helping you increase your resistance the right amount at the right time.