Ran across some information today I thought I’d share …

I’ve talked about the importance of strength training for seniors, who often tend to shy away from this kind of exercise but shouldn’t …

You ever heard of Silver Sneakers?

Glad you asked!

It’s a health and fitness program designed for folks 65 and older that is included with many Medicare plans and offer such things as free gym memberships.

And according to good ol’ Silver Sneakers, things like walking, bicycling, dancing, and swimming — recommended as good forms of exercise for seniors — are great for aerobic activity (cardiovascular exercise), but to truly be and stay healthy as long as possible, and even live longer, strength training is a must.

Ol’ John Henry told ya so, now didn’t he …

It is recommended that seniors (65 and older) do strength training exercise “at least” twice a week. It will make your muscles and bones stronger, improve joint health, help maintain a healthy weight, and perhaps most importantly, reduce the risk of injury from accidental falls. Not only that, maintaining and increasing strength helps with everyday activities that can become more challenging with age like climbing stairs, getting in and out of the car, up and down from the couch, along with recreational activities like golf or hiking.

If you’re new to strength training, go slow. Here is what Silver Sneakers recommends:

  • Consult your physician first: this is important especially for those with chronic health conditions, balance issues, or past injuries. The good news is, strength training is safe and recommended for nearly anyone, including those with such things as diabetes, arthritis, and osteoporosis. You don’t necessarily have to head over to the free weights section of the gym and start slinging around barbells and dumbbells like the youngsters. There are strength-training machines that are a great way to start, and there are plenty of bodyweight exercises — think pushups, bodyweight squats, and lunges — that do an excellent job.
  • Focus on proper form: this is where strength-training machines come in handy. These machines help teach proper form and help keep you safe and stabilized during different exercises. So remember, take it easy at first and don’t try to use too much weight. Give it a couple of weeks, at least, to ease into things and let your body adapt. Your muscles might be able to handle the load, but you need to give your ligaments and tendons time to get used to these new demands.
  • Consider working with a professional: especially starting out, a personal trainer can sit down with you and discuss not only your goals, but also your health history and exercise experience, along with doing physical assessments to help create a customized program that works for you and is designed to achieve measurable results. Personal training can be a little costly for some, but it’s a great investment in yourself. And here’s a little insider’s secret: a good and responsible trainer will not only help you work out, but also share their knowledge and teach you what you need to know, so that eventually you can “graduate” and start working out on your own, if you wish.

So there you go.

Strength training … you need it.

You can do it!

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