Older adults are aware of the body’s tendency of having muscle and sinew give way to fat and flab as they age and as years go by; they experience decline of performance as well. With age, ‘fast twitch’ muscles responsible for powerful and explosive movements appear to decline and there is more reliance on endurance muscles or ‘slow twitch’ fibers.
It is recommended by public health guidelines that older adults should be engaging in strength training once a week to maintain strength.
However, according to Roger Fielding, who studies exercise and human aging at Tufts University, to improve strength in older adults, they should be lifting weights two to three times a week.
Building muscle even as we age, has multiple advantages –
- It can boost one’s self image.
- Muscle strength or lack thereof, is an important indicator of one’s ability to be independent and to function without external aid.
- By doing what is required to preserve and even enhance muscle strength, one can help to improve one’s metabolism. This in turn can help prevent falls and injuries.
It is advisable to keep the workout intense – to begin light and work up the intensity to prevent injury and soreness. Use proper technique and target all the major muscle groups, advises Fielding.