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Close up of two women seated lifting up a pair of red dumbbell weights

The Senior’s Guide to Weightlifting

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Strength training in seniors can aid in reducing muscle loss, helping seniors stay active and independent longer. Brightwater’s weightlifting tips will guide seniors on how to safely lift dumbbells and use resistance training no matter their level of mobility. Find a muscle-building fitness plan that works for you or your loved one with this helpful guide.

Anti-Aging Benefits from Weightlifting

In addition to fighting disease and increasing energy levels, resistance training has been shown to help seniors live a longer, healthier life. According to a study by Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine, weightlifting pushes the cardiovascular system into full swing, circulating blood throughout the body and helping strengthen the muscles, joints, bones, and connective tissues. This can help increase overall balance and improve bodily functions, providing more stable movements and reducing injuries or falls.

Healthy Weightlifting for Seniors

Before beginning any strength training routine, however, seniors should seek the advice and approval of their primary care physician. Beginning a new exercise program has the potential to be taxing on a person’s body, and it’s important they know what is safe for them to do within their physical abilities. A warmup and cool down is also a healthy way to ease into and out of a weightlifting session. Drinking plenty of water is important before, during, and after exercise.

How to Avoid Injury During Exercise

Injuries in older adulthood can be a major cause for concern. During a weightlifting session, you or your loved one should always focus on practicing proper form. Slow, steady movements and having something to hold onto nearby are important for those with wavering balance. Doing any exercise while seated is a great option for seniors who are less confident in their balancing abilities. Working on safe balancing exercises between your resistance training schedule is a great way to prevent injury during future workouts.

Getting Started with Dumbbells

Dumbbells (also known as free weights) are typically the go-to equipment used for strength training as you can easily increase or decrease their heaviness, and they are effective for isolated resistance movements. Easing into your workout with a very low weight is the best way to get started. Standing or seated, begin with a dumbbell weight that allows you to accomplish 10 repetitions of each movement comfortably. Gradually increase the weight when each exercise feels very easy for you to complete. If you are unable to get to 10 repetitions of the movement, then the weight is too much. When moving on to a heavier weight, be sure to only increase by another pound or two to help avoid injury. Watch this video for a great guided free weight workout routine to get you started.

Resistance Bands

A resistance band is another option for a weightlifting workout. One end of this stretchy bands is held in each hand while performing exercise movements. Resistance bands can be a good starting point for seniors who are looking for a whole body workout. Here is a quick video offering a guided resistance band routine.

Bodyweight Exercises

Bodyweight strength training can be perfect for seniors with limited access to exercise equipment. This category of weightlifting uses one’s own bodyweight for resistance. Yoga is included in this realm. Here is a video of a guided bodyweight leg workout for seniors.

Sticking to a Routine

Setting up a regular workout routine will help bring structure to your schedule, stick with regular workouts, and see overall body function improvements. From building strength to increasing stability to looking and feeling better, many seniors will see a variety of benefits by sticking to a regular weightlifting routine. The American Heart Association recommends all ages practice strength training exercises at least two times per week.

Visit the Brightwater Senior Living Blog today for more information on how to stay active and healthy as you age.