We know as caregivers that keeping elders active is important to support physical and mental health. But when we think about exercise for elders, we may picture a nice walk versus pumping iron. As it turns out, there are many science-supported benefits of weightlifting for older adults.
According to Nicholas Rizzo’s article on RunRepeat, there are 78 science backed benefits of weightlifting for seniors, to be exact. This excellent resource, along with the accompanying infographic, is useful for anyone caring for an aging relative who needs a jump-start in their fitness routine. Dementia caregivers will want to note the section on the mental health and cognitive functioning benefits of weightlifting. Studies show that weight training can help relieve depression, which is commonly seen in dementia patients. Weightlifting can also improve memory functioning, even in those with dementia.
Of course, safety is paramount when it comes to physical activity. Before beginning any kind of exercise regimen involving older adults, make sure to consult a health professional who can assess the person’s health and determine if there are any limitations. A weightlifting routine should begin with a proper warm-up, involve a safe progression of weights as tolerated and always focus on proper range of motion. When performed correctly, weightlifting can actually help prevent injuries in older adults and reduce their fall risk, by increasing balance, flexibility and mobility, relieving arthritic pain and increasing bone mineral density.
Reading this article makes me want to add some weight training to my exercise regimen and I’m not quite an “older adult.” I’m a walker and stay in decent shape that way, but neglect activities like weight-based exercises which are also important for overall health.
Do you have any weight training tips for older adults?