Although strength training or building muscle is seen as the arena of the young, it is even more important for those 40 and over.
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As people age, the gradual loss of muscle mass and bone density becomes an increasing concern. The good news is that strength training can help to counteract these effects and improve overall health and wellbeing. In this blog post, we will explore the benefits of strength training after the age of 40, supported by scientific research.
1. Increased muscle mass: As we age, we tend to lose muscle mass, which is why people often become weaker and more susceptible to injuries. However, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that strength training in older adults increased their muscle mass by an average of 2.4 pounds over 18 weeks (1). This increase in muscle mass can help to improve balance and reduce the risk of falls in the more infirm. Or just make you look and feel more awesome on your sun holiday.
2. Improved bone density: Osteoporosis is a common condition that affects older adults, leading to weakened bones and an increased risk of fractures. However, strength training has been shown to improve bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis (2). A study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research found that strength training improved bone density in the spine and hip (3).
3. Lower risk of chronic diseases: Strength training has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that resistance training in older adults improved their glucose metabolism and reduced their risk of developing diabetes (4). Another study published in the Journal of Gerontology found that strength training reduced inflammation in older adults, which is a risk factor for many chronic diseases (5).
4. Improved mental health: Strength training not only benefits physical health, but it can also improve mental health. A study published in the Journals of Gerontology found that strength training in older adults improved their self-esteem and reduced symptoms of depression (6).
All in all… strength training is essential for older adults as it can help to increase muscle mass, improve bone density, reduce the risk of chronic diseases and improve mental health. It is important to note that it is never too late to start strength training, and even small amounts of exercise can be beneficial.
If you are unsure how to strength train effectively, or need help, click here for a free consultation to chat about how that might look for you.
The most common concern I hear with strength training is that it is dangerous.
But nothing could be further from the truth!
Strength training has the lowest rate of injury of any sport. So to quote Bret Contreras (PhD, Masters etc etc): “If you think lifting weights is dangerous, try being weak.
Being weak is dangerous.”
1. Fiatarone, M. A., et al. "High-intensity strength training in nonagenarians. Effects on skeletal muscle." JAMA 263.22 (1990):