Increasing Muscle Strength at an Older Age
posted by The Orthopedic Team | August 5, 2016
Most people associate aging with becoming weak and frail, but getting older doesn’t have to be that way. Strength training can build strong muscles and improve the quality of life at any age.
You can engage in strength training well into your 80s and 90s. While you may not be able to bench press 100 pounds at that age or have the energy to run a marathon, your body will probably respond well to moderate strength training. When done regularly, strength exercises build up bone and muscle while counteracting the weakness and frailty that often comes with aging.
Strength training requires very little time or equipment, making it one of the best ways to stay healthy.
Strength training helps you:
Build muscle strength
Improve mobility, balance and coordination
Reduce your risk of falling
Maintain bone density to reduce risk for fractures
Maintain independence in performing daily activities
With a little training from an orthopedic specialist or physical therapist, you can do most of the important strength training exercises at home with very little investment. Inexpensive hand weights and resistance bands are essential for strength training. Your physical therapist or orthopedic specialist can teach you how to use this equipment to build muscle mass and strength.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggests doing a half hour of strength training exercises on two or more days a week. The American College of Sports Medicine says that seniors should aim for about 30 minutes of exercise per session and never exercise for less than 20 or more than 45 minutes per session. Avoid exercising the same muscle group two days in a row, though, as it takes a couple of days for your muscles to recover from training.
For muscular balance and overall strength, perform strengthening exercises that target specific major muscle groups in your upper and lower body. For best results, strengthen those major muscle groups evenly.
Side arm raises
Seated rows with resistance band
Leg extension exercises
Side arm raises strengthen the muscles in your shoulders and upper back. Seated rows work the muscles in your lower back, the middle and lower trapezius in your upper back, and the latissimus dorsi and rhomboids muscles in your middle back.
Leg raises strengthen the iliopsoas muscles in your hips that help you walk. Leg curls work on your “glutes,” which are the muscles in your buttocks. Leg extension exercises target your quadriceps at the front of your thighs. Performing toe stands makes the muscles in your calves and ankles stronger.
Arm curls and elbow extension exercises strengthen your biceps at the front of your upper arm and your triceps at the back of your arm. Chair dips strengthen your triceps while wrist curls strengthen your forearms.
Strength training is safe at any age, even if you have health problems. Always consult with your doctor, of course, before beginning or changing any exercise program. An orthopedic specialist or physical therapist can help you develop a personalized strength training routine based on your goals and health history then train you to perform strengthening exercises at home. Doing these exercises correctly is important to strengthen your muscles safely and effectively.
If you would like to learn more about geriatric strengthening, make an appointment with an orthopedic specialist or physical therapist at Revere Health. We offer a variety of treatment options and training programs to help you get stronger. Call us today at (801) 429-8000
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.