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The Benefits of Strength Training for Older Adults

Updated: Mar 23, 2023

As we age, our bodies undergo many changes including changes in our bones. Over time, our bones may become weaker and more brittle making them more susceptible to fractures. This can be a particular concern for older adults, as falls and other accidents can result in serious injuries. However, there are steps that can be taken to help maintain bone health, including regular strength training for older adults. This blog will detail just how you can maintain strong bones through exercise.



How Bones Can Weaken Over Time

Bone is a living tissue that is constantly undergoing a process of breaking down and rebuilding. During childhood and adolescence, our bodies build up more bone tissue than is broken down, leading to increased bone mass and strength. However, after around age 30, our bodies start to lose more bone mass than they build up. This can lead to a gradual weakening of the bones over time, a condition known as osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a common condition among older adults, particularly women. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, over 54 million adults have osteoporosis or low bone mass putting them at increased risk of fractures and other bone-related injuries. While there are medications and other treatments available for osteoporosis, there are also several steps that can be taken to help maintain bone health and reduce the risk of bone loss.

How Strength Training Helps to Maintain Bone Health

One of the most effective ways to maintain bone health is through regular strength training for older adults. Strength training involves performing exercises that help build muscle strength and mass, which in turn can help strengthen the bones. When we perform strength training exercises, our muscles pull on the bones, which stimulates the bone-building cells to produce new bone tissue. Over time, this can help increase bone mass and strength which can help reduce the risk of fractures and other bone-related injuries.

Strength training for older adults can include exercises using free weights, weight machines, resistance bands, or even just your own body weight. Examples of strength training exercises include squats, lunges, push-ups, and bicep curls. It is important to work with a qualified fitness professional or healthcare provider to develop an exercise program that is safe and effective for you. In addition to strength training for older adults, there are several other steps that can be taken to help maintain bone health. These include:

  • Getting enough calcium and vitamin D: Calcium and vitamin D are essential for building and maintaining strong bones. Good sources of calcium include dairy products, leafy green vegetables, and fortified foods. Vitamin D can be obtained through exposure to sunlight or through supplements.

  • Engaging in weight-bearing activities: Weight-bearing activities, such as walking, dancing, and hiking, help stimulate the bone-building cells and can help maintain bone mass and strength.

  • Quitting smoking: Smoking has been linked to increased bone loss and a higher risk of fractures. Quitting smoking can help reduce the risk of these negative outcomes.

  • Limiting alcohol consumption: Excessive alcohol consumption has been linked to increased bone loss and a higher risk of fractures. Limiting alcohol intake can help reduce the risk of these negative outcomes.

  • Talking to your healthcare provider: If you have concerns about your bone health or have a family history of osteoporosis, talk to your healthcare provider about getting a bone density test and other steps you can take to maintain bone health.



Improve Your Bone Strength Today

In conclusion, bone health is an important concern for older adults, particularly women. Over time, our bones may become weaker and more susceptible to fractures. However, regular strength training for older adults can help to build muscle strength and mass, which in turn can help strengthen the bones and reduce the risk of fractures. Additionally, getting enough calcium and vitamin D, engaging in weight-bearing activities, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, and talking to your healthcare provider are all steps that can be taken to help maintain bone health. By taking these steps, older adults can help reduce their risk of bone-related injuries and maintain their overall health and wellbeing.

If you would like to improve your bone strength with the help of a qualified Physiotherapist, then contact The Well Balanced Centre today. Our Physiotherapists create bespoke care and exercise plans designed to support strength training for older adults. To learn more, or to book an appointment, contact us on hello@thewellbalancedcentre.co.uk or 07852 526916. We look forward to helping you get back to your best.

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