The Importance of Strength Training for Adults Over 50
The Importance of Strength Training for Adults 50+
For all ages, we start to lose strength quickly when we stop putting the work in. Around age 30, muscle mass starts to decrease. But, we can continue to grow our muscles beyond the age of 50. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, we lose 10% of our muscle mass by age 50. The loss of muscle mass is associated with fat gain because we burn fewer calories when muscle mass goes down. Additionally, older adults experience declining hormonal levels which can lead to holding more fat, less caloric burn, and insulin resistance for both men and women.
The benefit of strength training is that it adds muscle mass and increases metabolism so we can minimize some of the typical patterns of aging. The more muscle we have, the more calories we burn both at rest and during exercise. Strength training also helps older aged adults maintain their independence, prevents falls, can help relieve pain, prevents bone loss, improves mood, and more.
For people with diabetes, we especially benefit because strength training leads to improved insulin sensitivity which can help make managing blood sugars easier.
Some general guidelines for getting started with strength training:
Talk to your healthcare provider to find out if it’s safe for you to begin a strength training regimen.
Consider getting a trainer that has knowledge on diabetes to ensure you’re doing the proper form and staying safe.
Do a warm-up and cool-down: not only does this help prevent injury and soreness but it can also help with blood sugar stabilization.
Drink a lot of water: hydration is very important in diabetes management and for giving our bodies the ability to utilize the food we eat as fuel.
Kathryn received her Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology from Ave Maria University in Florida and a Master's degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology from West Chester University in Pennsylvania. She is Certified by the American College of Sports Medicine as well as the International Sports Science Association.