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Science Backed Benefits of Weightlifting for Seniors

Updated: Aug 21, 2021

The aging process is a daunting and inevitable one.

Which is why effort and action must be taken to improve the overall health, longevity, and quality of life.

Despite this, 80% of adults are not engaging in enough physical activity to reach prescribed guidelines. In general, but especially for seniors, inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle are extremely dangerous.

What are the dangers exactly? Increased risk of serious adverse health conditions such as blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, obesity, cholesterol issues, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cancer, depression, and death from any cause. In 2008 there were 5.3 million deaths worldwide caused by a lack of physical activity out of the 57 million deaths worldwide.

Many people know weightlifting is hugely beneficial but think light walking or recreational activity is “good enough” for seniors. There is this misconception that older aged individuals should stay away from any strenuous activity that can build strength like weightlifting. Continuing on completely unaware of the benefits of strength training.

Unfortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Because of this, I spent hours upon hours researching and reading over 200 scientifically backed, peer-reviewed studies, 126 of which were used specifically for this article. All in order to provide you with the benefits of strength training for older adults and elderly.

Physical Fitness for Healthy Aging: Is resistance training with weights safe?

It is a good question. At any age there is a level of “danger” that comes with weightlifting in all of its forms. But are there greater risks or dangers for those who are in the older populations?

There have been hundreds, if not thousands, of studies with volunteers from ages 55-90 weight training. Training with weights, whether that be heavy or light, has been shown to be a safe, enjoyable, and beneficial activity for older adults and the elderly.

But, as with all ages, there is always a risk of injury. To keep it safe, studies suggest using safe equipment, careful warming up and cooling down, and a focus on using the correct range of motion is important. You should be sharing your new or current physical endeavors with your doctor and get the two thumbs up from them as well.

What about the type of training? The safest type of training focuses on progressive increases in intensity, much like the Stronglifts DRS Workout. The focus being on power development that increases the speed of force production.

Through this training, the level of cardiovascular and musculoskeletal fitness improves. These improvements are a key factor in injury prevention among older adults and the elderly. This is especially true for seniors who hope to remain active in their favorite actities and sports. For example, strength training for golf is kn