As you get older your body becomes less resilient – you get hurt more easily and it takes longer to recover. With age things like obesity, osteoporosis, arthritis, hypertension, memory loss, diabetes, and heart disease start to develop. If you don’t take care of yourself, your odds of experiencing one of these will increase significantly.
But it doesn’t necessarily need to be this way – preventing and mitigating these conditions is possible.
Impact of Exercise
“The physiologic adaptations to aerobic and resistance exercise are distinctly different: aerobic exercise improves cardiovascular adaptations that increase peak oxygen consumption without significantly changing strength, whereas resistance exercise improves neuromuscular adaptations that increase strength without significantly changing peak oxygen consumption.”1
Reaping the full benefits of exercise requires the combination of training types. Aerobic endurance training will improve your heart health, reduce your blood pressure, and risk of diabetes and heart disease, but wont impact your strength or bone health.
This is why it’s important to create a workout plan that incorporates a combination of aerobic and strength training.
Without strength training you’re more likely to experience arthritic pains, back aches, lack of balance and coordination, and reduced mobility.
Research looking at adults over the age of 65 found they experience a greater degree of benefit from a combination of resistance and aerobic training compared to either in isolation.1
What to focus on
Resistance training is often associated with large muscles and heavy weights. It’s an unfortunate stereotype that likely discourages many from taking part – ultimately causing them to miss out on the practical benefits.
For many, larger muscles and an improved aesthetic are the main reasons they do resistance training – but these aren’t the only benefits they’re actually getting out of it.
Resistance training, if done correctly, can improve your mobility, your balance, and your general day to day functioning.
But this doesn’t happen from just doing bicep curls and bench presses.
You’ll need to incorporate exercises that are dynamic and functional. Things that can help with regular daily activities – picking something up, reaching above your head, standing up and down. These are movements that you take for granted but become more challenging and dangerous as you get older if you neglect your physical fitness.
Any form or amount of physical activity is better than nothing. As you get older, it’s important to find a workout routine you enjoy that includes a variety of exercises.
A combination of resistance training and aerobic training will provide the best overall benefit to your health and wellbeing.
You’ll reduce your risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and a host of other conditions.
- Villareal, Dennis T et al. “Aerobic or Resistance Exercise, or Both, in Dieting Obese Older Adults” New England journal of medicine vol. 376,20 (2017): 1943-1955.