Written by Caitlin Hunt
Weight training is not just for men or the muscle fanatics, it has a wide range of health benefits particularly for older women. Strengthening exercises like weights has health benefits for anyone but it’s particularly important for women, especially as they get older.
Muscle strengthening exercises are important to keep our bones strong and is a vital part of a woman’s daily exercise routine for those who have gone, or are going through, menopause.
Oestrogen the female hormone that protects our bone strength so, after menopause, our oestrogen levels drop meaning so does our bone density. The average woman loses up to 10% of her bone mass in the first five years after menopause, which increases the risk of osteoporosis. If our oestrogen levels begin to decline, you may wonder what you should be doing… the answer is simple, weights training, leg strength and balance.
It’s doesn’t have to be complex and you don’t have to have the equipment. Bodyweight exercises like squats, push-ups, or step-ups will help to increase muscle tone, maintain sound strength, build bone density, maintain a healthy weight, optimize metabolic function, and reduce the risk of injury, falls and fatigue. It is recommended a minimum of two sessions per week be conducted to achieve the benefits.
In addition to bone strength, resistance training is one of the most effective ways to maintain muscle mass as we age. Having strong legs will decrease your risk of falls, improve your balance and having more muscle bulk will mean if you do fall you have some extra padding to take the impact of the fall so your bones will be less likely to break (winning!)
Weights training after the age of 50 can help your body with:
- Building bone density
- As we get older, the risk of falling down increases. The consequences of a broken bone when we’re older can be devastating, painful and a long recovery process. Strength training can reduce the likelihood
- Building muscle mass
- Building muscle mass doesn’t mean you are going to look like a professional body builder, it will mean you are stronger in everyday life.
- Decrease body fat
- Too much body fat isn’t ideal for any age, the average person should have between 21-33% of body fat and maintaining a healthy weight is important especially when it comes to the prevention of diseases that are common as we get older.
- Improving your mental health
- As we get older, depression and loss of self-confidence is really common. Strength training can improve these symptoms.
O2 Active’s tips when it comes to weights day:
- Work every muscle, not just your favourite ones (these ones are typically our strongest anyway!)
– To see results, you need to work your entire body, not just one section. Include exercises for your legs, glutes core, chest, biceps, triceps and shoulders. Ignoring some muscle groups increases the risk of injury and body imbalances.
- Use a full range of motion
– Learn the proper way to do an exercise, if you’re not sure our team is on hand ready to help! This will ensure you’re working the length of the entire muscle and reduces the risk of injury.
- Try engage your core in every exercise you do
– All movements are cantered around the core. Our cores connect our upper body to our lower body, so as you have guessed – it’s pretty important. Keeping your core engaged throughout your weights session will also help to protect your spine!
If you need some assistance with developing a weight routine, or want a one on one session to run through various exercises, reach out to us – we’d love to help!