Getting older is something we all must face, and for most, is a part of life we don’t usually look forward to. When we consider the prospect of aging, our thoughts are often negative, triggering images of inevitable physical and mental decline. Yes, these changes are possible as part of the “typical” path people take through the aging journey. But by changing the way we think about aging, we can choose another path. Our bodies and minds are not destined to decline with our advancing years. These are supposed to be the greatest years of our lives! So it’s time we started acting like it, and more importantly, preparing for it.
Some examples of the negative thoughts and fears we have about aging include:
- I will become weak and fragile
- I will lose balance, mobility, and flexibility
- My ability to think clearly, remember and process information will decline
- I am sure to develop a chronic diseases
- I am afraid of becoming dependent on others to take care of myself
While these thoughts and fears can definitely come to fruition, they can also be prevented!
Prevention is the key to avoiding these negative outcomes and is vital in keeping older adults feeling their best and continuing to do the activities they love. By adding resistance training to an older adult’s routine, we can prevent these declines from happening. More than 70% of deaths of people 70 years of age and older come from falls (10 Commandments of Training for Longevity, Robert Linkul). When we add resistance training into their routine it improves bone density, tendon, muscle, and ligament strength, as well as improving joint stabilization. These are all improvements that help prevent falls. They also make it much easier to get up from those falls and walk away without suffering serious or even life-altering injuries.
Another great benefit of resistance training is maintaining and improving proper balance, flexibility, and mobility. These are activities we perform all day long, often without realizing it. Training in these areas will have huge payoffs as you start to get older. It can make the difference in being able to stay independent your entire life or spending your golden years in assisted living or even a nursing home.
Studies have shown that resistance training can also help reduce or prevent cognitive decline in older adults by increasing brain activity. (10 Commandments of Training for Longevity, Robert Linkul). Increased brain activity decreases the chances of a long-term decline in brain activity. Resistance training increases alertness, delivering energy-rich oxygen to the brain, bloodstream, and all body cells. Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia can also be prevented by consistently challenging the brain to stay active through resistance training. (6 Ways To Reverse The Aging Process with Exercise, Charley Gould).
Chronic diseases such as heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes are the leading causes of death worldwide. Unfortunately, as we get older, our risk of developing chronic diseases increases. Just as the other progressive declines previously discussed, chronic disease can be prevented with resistance training exercises. “According to one analysis, adults over the age of 65 who strength train at least twice per week have “46% lower odds of death for any reason” than those who do not (10)”(6 Ways To Reverse The Aging Process with Exercise, Charley Gould).
Facing chronic health conditions is frightening enough alone, but considering the ongoing threat of a worldwide pandemic (Covid-19), it is even more important to take control of your health and prevent chronic disease. It is shown that your risk of mortality from Covid-19 is much higher with underlying or chronic health conditions. So hit the gym, grab some weights, and get yourself into some foundational and functional strength training.
Whether you are looking for specific or generalized training programs, we have some great ones here at Central Ohio Spine and Joint. We also offer personal training and group classes at our location through The Training Room. If you are interested in learning more about our training options you can call (614) 392-2732, click the services tab then select the fitness option on the home page of this site, or come visit us at 768 Park Meadow Rd, Westerville, OH 43081. We hope to hear from you soon, and get you on the right path for a long, healthy, and pain-free life!
Written by: Josh Molli – Rehab Specilist