Many studies out there show the benefits of seniors making a regular trip to the gym. In fact, the older we get, the more we need to keep our muscles strong.
As the years go by, the muscular cells in our body waste away due to lack of use or by the damaging effects of free radicals, inflammation, and hormonal imbalance during menopause, or mitochondrial dysfunction. All together, these factors are called Sarcopenia, the natural weakening of the muscles through aging.
To reverse this process, progressive and regular use of resistance training was proven to increase mitochondrial and antioxidant production, balance hormones, and strengthen muscles on a genetic level.
Why Is The Loss Of Muscle Tissue So Bad?
1. Muscles burn more calories than fat. If we have fewer muscles and eat the same amount of food than before the loss of muscle tissue, we will gain more body fat. This can result in major heart health issues, increased risk for type 2 diabetes and premature death from various obesity and overweight related conditions that threaten the health of aging women.
2. Muscles are also essential for the body’s skeletal system. Muscles hold our spine tall and straight. Without those muscles, we could have severe back pain.
3. Muscles also help our joints, keeping us nice and limber.
4. In addition, strong bones reduce the chances of injury and also help prevent osteoporosis, which afflicts thousands of women ages 55 and over.
So What Are Smart Senior Women Doing At The Gym To Keep Their Bodies Strong?
• Senior Group Classes – Most gyms have classes created especially for senior citizens. These classes are perfect because they already took into consideration safety and ability when creating these classes. These are also great for social interaction and making fitness fun because you will be in a group of people just like you. They can also be a source of stress relief and you won’t feel intimidated by your fitness level because of your advancing age. Everyone else will be in the same stage of life and you won’t feel so out of place.
• Tai Chi or Qigong – These types of ancient wellness practices can usually be found at your local senior or community center or even at the gym. They are great for balance, stress relief, and muscle strengthening. Because of the slow pace movement and low impact exercise, this is a very popular strength program for senior women. It is easy on the joints but still helps to strengthen your entire body. It also helps to keep you flexible and limber.
• Yoga – This is another low impact form of exercise that is popular with the senior community. Like everyone else, seniors can gain strength and flexibility through a regular yoga program. It doesn’t require any special equipment so you can even do these at home after you’ve learned the moves or watch a video and follow along. One of the best thing about yoga is that there are modifications to almost every move for those who may have limited mobility due to health issues like arthritis.
• Water Aerobics – Many seniors can be found moving and smiling at the local pool. These water aerobics classes are great for strength training seniors without causing any injury. The weight of the water against the movement of the body creates a natural resistance training to keep the muscles strong without the jarring and joint problems. Another great aspect of water aerobics is that it controls the body temperature with the cool water, so no nasty sweating!
• Power Walking – Power walking is another simple, no equipment workout that seniors can do anywhere. It is best to do at the gym because most gyms have a padded track that will be easy on your knees.
If you feel you are strong enough to tackle what the 30 somethings and 40 somethings are doing, more power to you! If you don’t you can still do many of the low impact workouts that promote good health, like swimming and yoga. Just make sure you are getting the okay from your doctor and taking safety to heart.