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Most older individuals are well aware that they need regular aerobic exercise, such as walking, swimming, and running. But many dismiss weight training as an activity, but this is the only type of exercise that can substantially slow and even reverse the declines in muscle mass, bone density, and strength.
In general as people grow older their muscle fibers shrink in number and in size this contributes to a decrease in strength, balance and coordination. Fortunately resistance exercise can reverse much of this decline by increasing the muscle fibers.
It is also known that weight training can increase bone mass, which lowers the risk of developing osteoporosis and fractures. Weight training adds more weight to the skeleton by building muscle, this stimulates the bone to strengthen and grow stronger. For best results strength training should be done 2-3 times per week for 30-60 minutes.
Carl Causly is a certified trainer and teaches a Body Sculpt 50 plus class at the Barbara J. Riley Community and Senior Center.
Published: January 12, 2012 – Volume 10 – Issue 39