Q. My daughter has been after me to start a weight training exercise program she saw advertised at our local senior center. But, at age 76, I don’t see the point. Since my wife died I’m not interested in getting out.
Before you come down too hard on your daughter, please consider the fact that exercise could help you feel better and stay healthy.
Of course, you should discuss with your doctor any new exercise program before you begin. When you’re having that conversation, why not talk about resistance training. One of the unwanted side effects of aging is loss of muscle strength.
“Resistance exercise is a great way to increase lean muscle tissue and strength capacity so that people can function more readily in daily life,” says Mark Peterson, Ph.D., a research fellow in the University of Michigan Physical Activity and Exercise Intervention Research Laboratory, at the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
Through resistance training adults can improve their ability to stand up out of a chair, walk across the floor, climb a flight of stairs – anything that requires manipulating their own body mass through a full range of motions. These are all skills that you would need to remain independent at home.
Progressive resistance training means that the amount of weight used, and the frequency and duration of training sessions is altered over time to accommodate an individual’s improvements. Research shows that after an average of 18-20 weeks of progressive resistance training, an adult can add 2.42 pounds of lean muscle to their body mass and increase their overall strength by 25-30 percent.
It can be difficult to get motivated to leave the house after the loss of a spouse. A friend could help. Perhaps someone you know would be interested in exercising with you. Or, if you don’t know anyone who would like to join you, why not consider hiring a caregiver companion.
The local Home Instead Senior Care® office employs CAREGiversSM who are screened, trained, bonded and insured. Every effort is made to match both male and female CAREGivers with seniors of similar interests. So you could find someone who might be just what you need to improve your health and fitness.
For more about the study, visit http://www.uofmhealth.org/News/senior-resistance-training.
For more information or to get answers to your questions, please contact your Home Instead Senior Care office serving The Greater Worcester County and MetroWest MA Areas.