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The Vital Role of Weight Training as We Age

The Vital Role of Weight Training as We Age
Written by Michael Clark, Registered Osteopath and Co-founder of Clarks Healthcare

As we journey through life, our bodies undergo a series of natural transformations that can significantly influence our well-being. One of the most profound changes is the gradual loss of muscle mass and strength, a condition known as sarcopenia, which profoundly impacts our quality of life by increasing frailty and reducing our ability to perform everyday tasks. However, resistance training (weight lifting) stands out in medical research, and in my experience working with patients, as a key intervention to counteract these effects, fostering a healthier and more vibrant aging process.

Understanding Sarcopenia

Starting in our 40s, sarcopenia accelerates with each passing year, leading to decreased strength and functionality. Resistance training has been identified as a vital tool to combat Sarcopenia’s effects of declining muscle mass.

The Science Behind Resistance Training and Aging

Comprehensive studies have revealed the positive impact of resistance training on aging muscles. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association highlighted a 113% increase in muscle strength among participants aged 65 and older over six months of progressive resistance training. Besides muscle enhancement, resistance training contributes to better bone density, balance, and metabolic health, reducing risks associated with osteoporosis, diabetes, and heart disease. A study in The Journal of Psychiatry also connects resistance training with improved mental health, boosting self-esteem and reducing depression and anxiety.

Osteoporosis and Resistance Training

Osteoporosis, a condition characterized by weakened bones, poses a significant risk, particularly to postmenopausal women. Resistance training emerges as a critical strategy in combating this risk. Engaging in weight-bearing exercises stimulates bone remodelling and density improvements, as evidenced by research in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, which shows that resistance training significantly increases bone mineral density and structure.

Is It Safe to Lift Weights for the Over 60s?

Despite misconceptions, resistance training is increasingly important with age. Many of our patients say friends tell them they are ‘too old to lift weights’, this is untrue. The simple fact is, as we age resistance training becomes more and more important. Research underscores this, with a study in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research revealing that individuals over 60 can safely engage in resistance training with appropriate guidance and modifications. The study highlights the importance of tailored exercise programs that account for the individual’s health status and fitness level, substantially mitigating the risk of injury while promoting strength gains. It demonstrates the overwhelming benefits of resistance training to meet the needs of an aging population, challenging the misconception that it might be hazardous for them.

Further affirming the safety of resistance training for the elderly, The Gerontologist confirms minimal injury rates among seniors who partake in supervised weight lifting. This research points to the critical role of professional oversight in ensuring exercises are performed correctly and effectively. It emphasizes that with expert supervision, proper technique and gradual progression, resistance training is a safe and essential activity for seniors as they age.

Customized Resistance Training at Clarks Healthcare

We recognize that a one-size-fits-all approach falls short in addressing the unique needs of our aging population. Our Healthy Living Programme offers personalized exercise programs, meticulously crafted by me (Michael Clark) and Lisa Clark following over 180 orthopaedic tests. Conducted in our onsite studio, these one-to-one sessions are tailored to meet your individual health conditions and fitness levels, ensuring a safe, effective, and personalized resistance training experience.

Enhancing Resistance Training with Osteopathy and Rehabilitation

Osteopathy, with its holistic approach to treating joint and muscle conditions, harmonizes seamlessly with resistance training. Our Osteopaths assess, diagnose and help treat specific problems which may be preventing you from exercising. Hands on treatment is coupled with specific rehabilitation exercises that complements resistance training in our Studio.

Incorporating Resistance Training into Your Life

Embracing resistance training involves:

  • Assessment: Start with a professional evaluation to design a tailored program.
  • Gradual Progression: Begin with lighter weights, increasing intensity responsibly.
  • Technique Priority: Focus on form to prevent injuries.
  • Consistency: Aim for two to three sessions weekly for noticeable benefits.
  • Continuous Challenge: Progressively increase the challenge to avoid plateaus.
  • Support Network: Utilize professional and personal support to stay motivated.

Conclusion

Resistance training is essential for maintaining health and vitality as we age. At Clarks Healthcare, we’re committed to supporting your journey toward a stronger, healthier future with personalized care and expert guidance.

For personalized support regarding the issues discussed in this article, or if you wish to reduce pain and enhance your overall health, consider consulting with me or my team at Clarks Healthcare. You can reach us at 01268795705

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About Michael Clark:

Meet Michael Clark, a registered Osteopath, rehabilitation specialist, and holistic lifestyle coach. As the co-founder of Clarks Healthcare, Michael, alongside Lisa and their dedicated team, has guided over 6,000 patients towards pain relief and improved health over the past 20 years.

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Clarks Healthcare

Meet Michael Clark, a registered Osteopath, rehabilitation specialist, and holistic lifestyle coach. As the co-founder of Clarks Healthcare in Benfleet Essex, Michael, alongside Lisa and their dedicated team, has guided over 6,000 patients towards pain relief and improved health over the past 20 years.

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