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CindySays™...

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Cindy Boggs Cindy Boggs

Cindy Boggs is an American Council on Exercise-certified fitness professional, corporate wellness presenter and author of the award winning book, CindySays … "You Can Find Health in Your Hectic World." Send inquiries/comments to cindysays@aol.com.

There are too many seniors who think they are too old to lift weights. They hear about the benefits of strength training and yet ignore it believing it will intensify the aches and pain they already feel in their bodies. 

This is understandable — who wants to do something that may bring on more discomfort? But, what they may not know is that strength training, when aligned with their current fitness levels and performed appropriately, can actually improve the way they feel and decrease the amount of pain they are experiencing.

Say yes to strong

Being physical is imperative as we age. Our joints and ligaments depend upon our activity to stay strong and supple. Lack of resistance training inhibits the kind of strength needed for everyday tasks and will eventually steal one's independence. Whether it is a little or a lot, our muscles need to be challenged on a daily basis in order to maintain the highest possible quality of life. 

That is not to say that you should just buy a set of weights or join a gym without knowing what to do. That kind of haphazard approach to strength training could result in damage to tendons and ligaments at any age. 

The first step might be to visit your health care professional for a physical exam and permission to begin a strength training program. If there are any reasons that would prohibit you from this type of activity — even minor limitations — they can recommend modifications. 

Knowledge is power

If you are cleared to work out with weights but have little knowledge or experience with this type of training, you should consult with a fitness professional, who can evaluate your present ability by administering simple fitness testing. 

This serves to identify strengths and weaknesses, set goals and create a personalized strength training program for you.

When you work with a certified personal trainer, you will become familiar with how to lift weights properly so that you will become stronger. 

You should learn the following:

 

  • Appropriate warm-up exercises to prepare your body for strength training,
  • Instruction for exercises for upper and lower body,
  • The amount of weight for each exercise,
  • The number of repetitions (how many times you do the exercise), 
  • The number of sets (how many times you repeat the repetitions), 
  • Correct exercise form and technique,
  • Lifting speed and range of motion,
  • Days to exercise and days to recover each week for functional benefits,
  • Modifications if needed and
  • Range of motion exercises post-workout.

 

Once familiar with your detailed program, you will be equipped to continue on your own in a supervised atmosphere. Your joints and ligaments will become thicker and stronger in response to strength training if performed within a properly prescribed program. It's never too late to get stronger and feel better.