We all know how important it is to stay active as we get older. Many of our patients are pretty active and for those that aren’t, an important part of their treatment plan is to help guide them back to exercise as this is the real key to staying pain free in the long term.
For older adults, and I include myself in this, it’s vital that whatever other exercise you do, you need to try and figure in some resistance-based work.
What is resistance work?
It means we’ve got to use weights! Whether it’s your bodyweight, a dumbbell or a machine in the gym; whether you push it, pull it or lift it, using weights is going to give you some great benefits. In fact, it’s by far one of the most important things you can do for your body and it’s never too late to start.
The Benefits of Strength Training
Strength training can:
- Reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, back pain and depression
- Help you manage your weight
- Maintain and improve your balance
- Help you sleep better
- Improve glucose control
- Increase strength and muscle mass while raising metabolism
- Promote more independence as you get older
Where to begin?
Many people avoid this kind of exercise as it’s associated with young, fit gym bunnies lifting heavy weights. Many of us feel out of our comfort zone using this kit in the gym or a bit clueless as to where to start if we’re not gym members.
The truth is that this kind of exercise can be quite simple. Some key go-to exercises – squats, lunges and press ups – using just the weight of your body will get you started. Once you’ve mastered these, you can then build in additional exercises and additional weight to keep progressing things.
It’s always best to get guidance if you can so, if you belong to a gym, have a chat with one of the trainers. They’ll be able to get you started with an initial programme that’ll start you off safely.
If you come to us for an appointment, we’ll be able to demonstrate some great resistance exercises that’ll get you going, and we can build things from there so that you progress from a nice, simple beginning. Any exercise routine like this should see any conditions or issues causing pain recede, meaning less pain and fewer injuries.
If you want to get started now, the NHS website has some great exercise routines for people new to the concept of resistance work and who need a few pointers. Take a look here.