Strength Training For Older Adults vs Cardio
Today we’re going to learn all about the importance of strength training for older adults. We all know that exercise is good for us, that’s a no brainer. That being said, I was in a conversation with a lady who was new to exercise and one of the things that she mentioned was that she is an avid biker. She absolutely loves to bike but does no strength training at all.
Now first off, let’s celebrate the fact that the lady I was speaking with is doing routine exercise! That’s amazing! The unfortunate part is that she is missing out on SO many benefits that are going to help her in her day to day life, by not being involved with some form of strength or resistance training.
Let’s talk about 5 of the many benefits that strength training for older adults provides that cardio doesn’t.
Makes You Stronger
Strength training helps you build lean tissue in your body which makes daily tasks easier to perform. By strength training regularly you will notice daily movements such as carrying in the groceries, running around with your kids and cleaning up the house becomes easier.
Many studies show that strength-training in any capacity; whether it be heavy weights and low repetitions or lighter weight and high repetitions; show significant improvements in greater strength and a gain in muscle mass.
Furthermore, strength-training improves speed, power and endurance in athletes through preserving lean muscle mass. In fact, a study done in 2014 shows that strength training improves cardiovascular training in athletes. Strength training for older adults is one of the best things that you can do for your health.
Increase your Metabolic Rate
Your body’s metabolism is the process in which chemical reactions occur in your body. In the health and fitness space it is interchangeable with calorie expenditure; meaning the number of calories your body uses in a given amount of time.
A higher metabolism in your body is shown to help increase your energy, better blood circulation and a decreased risk of chronic illness.
Strength training increases your metabolic rate up to 72 hours after exercise because muscles are more metabolically efficient than fat mass. To explain, you burn calories while lifting weights and afterwards; and this is not a benefit you see with cardiovascular training.
Decreases Your Risk of Injury
Having a strong core, mobile joints and flexibility around the body is shown to decrease your risk of injury significantly. A study done in 2018 demonstrates low core strength can lead to instability in the spine and cause back pain. In order to increase the strength of your core, and avoid back injuries, strength training is necessary.
Furthermore, as an athlete progresses in the volume at which they strength train, their risk of injury decreases. The more often a person participates in strength-training, the stronger their muscles, joints, bones and ligaments. The strength of the muscles, joints, bones and ligaments determine their ability to withstand a trauma without injury.
Keeps Your Bones Strong
Bone development is important at all stages of life in order to take part in weight-bearing activities. Movements such as walking, running and climbing stairs put temporary stress on your bones.
If strength-training is not a part of your routine, this may cause pain in your joints and could lead to osteoporosis, fractures and frequent falls as you age.
In fact, a study done in 2017 shows that an exercise routine that incorporates both balance and strength-training minimizes risk of bone-related injuries.
If you want to learn more about using exercise for strengthening bones, check out this other great article we wrote.
Improves Your Brain Health
Strength-training improves blood flow, reduces inflammation and increases molecules that are linked to learning and memory.
Furthermore, after participating in strength-training; processing speed, memory and executive function is shown to be improved. A study done in 2014 shows that a structured strength-training routine can decrease risk of dementia.
If you’re someone who is looking at improving your health both now and in the future, strength training is one of the things you can do that will make a massive difference down the road. Not only is strength training for older adults fun, but it’s extremely effective in improving overall health.