Health Tips

Strength Training

April 22, 2016

Its never too late to start strength training

Whether it’s using weights, doing resistance exercises or lifting your own body weight, building muscle is an excellent form of fitness.

Research shows that muscle bulk, power and strength is starting to decline from the age of 30.  By the sixth decade the decline is a little faster.  So if you have not already started, it is still possible to get stronger in your 50’s and 60’s.

There is also research showing that it is not just extra fat, but also loss of muscle that is associated with many disease processes.  One example is type2 diabetes, where a moderate muscle-building programme may reduce blood sugar because larger muscles absorb more glucose from the food we eat.

Taking on a weight/resistance programme requires careful planning and a graded approach.  It must also involve correct positioning or good form.  Underlying core muscle control should be the basis for working the outer or global muscles.  There should not be pain associated with exercises, though there may be some muscle soreness for a short period afterwards.

Some of the exercises should increase your heart rate and breathing rate, but short rests between sets help you to catch your breath and recover from muscle fatigue.  You may be using dumbbells, resistance bands, steps, suspension equipment or a swiss ball, or simply working with your own body weight on a mat on the floor.

Aim for 2-3 workout sessions per week with a plan to exercise the main large muscle groups.  Having alternating Week A and Week B exercise programmes is ideal.

There should be some initial warm-up movements, some stability exercises for endurance and balance, some power exercises where speed is involved, and other resistance exercises for strength, and finally a recovery period to gently stretch and cool down.

Enjoy your work-outs and consult your Physio if you need help with training the core muscles, planning a programme, or managing existing musculoskeletal problems.