The Importance of Strength Training in your 70's and Beyond, by Matthew Romans
Posted April 27, 2020 by Matthew Romans
We have written at length about the many benefits of strength training for people of all ages. Regular Total Results exercise can help children and teens can get on the right path to a healthy and active lifestyle, help athletes and weekend warriors improve their performance and reduce their risk of injury, and help middle-aged adults ward off the onset of chronic disease with just one or two 20-minute workouts per week. We have clients of all ages come through our doors, and the progress that they make is nothing short of amazing. However, the age group that has the most to gain from consistent Total Results exercise is the population above the age of 70. In my opinion, working with this population has been the most rewarding part of my job as an instructor.
It sometimes gets lost in the shuffle how much we call upon our muscles on a daily basis. Muscles are what produce human movement, so any movement we do, big or small, requires the use of muscles. Typing an email requires the use of small muscles of the fingers and hands, while getting up off the sofa uses the larger muscles of the lower body. These are things that many younger people take for granted, but can be more difficult and require more effort if you are in your 70s or older. We have had clients in their 70s (and even older) come through our doors who have never weight trained in their lives, and are skeptical that it can be beneficial for them at their age. In order to keep down medical costs and maintain functional independence, strong muscles are absolutely essential.
What are some of the important benefits of Total Results exercise for the senior population?
Improved balance. While balance skills are specific to the nature of whatever activity you're doing, you are going to have better dynamic stability if you have greater strength. If you are stronger, you will be less susceptible to falls and injuries around the house and be able to maintain independence..
Improved golf game/athletic activity. This obviously goes hand in hand with working to keep your swing and other golf skills sharp, but being strong will help you hit the ball further off the tee and give you the endurance to play for eighteen holes, rather than having to head into the clubhouse earlier. Also, golf can lend itself to repetitive stress injury (see Tiger Woods injuries), particularly to the lower back. Regular Total Results exercise can keep your trunk muscles strong and reduce your risk for injury. It's hard to enjoy golf if you're injured.
Recover faster from joint replacement surgery. Medical advancements have made it more common for people to undergo joint replacements at younger ages, but some people are still waiting until their 70s to have them. The stronger and better conditioned you are, the easier the surgical and recovery processes will be. The more muscle you have, the less time it will take to return to your pre-surgical levels of strength.
Greater ease of going up and down stairs. Knee issues (such as arthritis) are not exclusive to the senior population, but they do increase in likelihood as we age. In fact, most people with knee issues have a greater difficulty going down stairs rather than up because of the body's greater reliance on static stabilizers (tendons and ligaments). Total Results strength training helps to strengthen the connective tissue as well as the muscles, and will also lead to a greater release of synovial fluid inside the knee, which helps to lubricate the joint.
Improved immune system. While low-level infections might not be serious in younger populations, in older populations they can be deadly (as we are seeing with COVID-19). Regular Total Results exercise will help you to maintain insulin sensitivity, which is essential in warding off chronic disease, and being stronger and better conditioned will leave you less susceptible to respiratory infections. In conjunction with regular exercise, it's important to get proper sleep, manage stress, drink plenty of water, and eat a whole-foods diet that minimizes sugar intake.
The more strong and fit you are in your 70s and beyond, the higher your quality of life. This will enable you to travel, play more actively with grandchildren, and do all the things you have always wanted to do but didn't have time for. The two oldest clients we have had at Total Results both lived into their early 90s, and each of them was very active until their late 80s and beyond (one of them still did all of the maintenance on his boat until he was about 87). Our current oldest client is 88; she is mentally sharp, very strong and fit, and works extremely intensely in her workouts. These are just a few of our success stories, and there are many more. If you or someone you love fits into this age category, please have them contact Total Results to schedule a consultation. It's never too late to start!