Older Women And Fitness

by Phil Beckett

Women of all ages often question the benefits of strength training. A lot of research has proven the vast physiological and psychological benefits that this type of exercise has for you.

However, many older women do not believe they can perform this sort of exercise and quite honestly, think of every excuse not to.

Don't you think that it would be great if you were capable of doing the many leisure time activities you want to throughout your entire life?

Here's a summary for you of some research on this topic:

  1. Muscular strength and endurance of women can increase significantly through participation in a 12-week resistance-training program (weight lifting).
  2. Skeletal muscle of women in all age groups adjusts to resistance training by increasing strength and size. The major difference is the increased length of time required by older women to fully recovery from weight lifting.
  3. Some older women who walk with the help of walkers can improve strength necessary to convert from the use of a walker to the use of a cane through regular resistance exercise.
  4. In a group of women, 72-94 years of age, I trained for a 12-week program, three-times a week with both resistance and cardiovascular exercises, all more than doubled the strength in their leg and hip muscles.
  5. It is believed that the main cause of loss of strength in older women is lack of activity - most notably progressive resistance overload.
  6. Muscle strength of older women increases quickly during the initial three months of training, then levels out.
  7. Women can carry out prolonged moderate to high intensity resistance training with reasonable compliance and resulting slow-and fast-twitch muscle fiber enlargement.
  8. Exercise has shown to be an effective means of weight-control by increasing energy requirements (at rest and during exercise), decreasing body fat, and maintaining metabolically active tissue in healthy women of all ages.
  9. Elastic tubing, even though heavily promoted as being effective, is very ineffective at improving balance, strength, and walking ability in older women. However, free weights and resistance exercise in general are effective.
  10. Women of all ages (16 - 68) that I've worked with over the years with strength and aerobic conditioning for a minimum of 6 months have shown to increase strength (5-65%), decrease body fat and increase fat free mass and have done it without any injury.

Fitness & exercise stops your muscles from wasting away.

It doesn't matter if you're 40 years old or 75 years old. If you don't build muscle, you'll lose muscle.

Exercise and fitness programs have often disregarded the importance and usefulness of weight lifting for older women.

Why is added muscular strength so important and why should women of all ages wish to strength train?

Exercise and fitness will help you to increase the range of movement, increase lean muscle, strengthen bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, improves your ability to do everyday, improves health, helps prevent accidents, injuries, and sickness, and speeds rehabilitation.

Resistance training helps women tone, shape and strengthen muscle fibers, minimizing the "fatty marbling" within the muscle that results in a flabby, weak muscle.

Equally as important, having more strength and endurance makes daily activities easier and less tiring, thereby increasing or maintaining stamina.

In addition, not only will you increase lean muscle mass and overall body th, but the benefits of exercise also include increased metabolic rate and increased bone density.

Women who exercise on a regular basis with both resistance training (weight lifting) and cardiovascular exercise are able to perform more work without tiring and are less likely to sustain fractures resulting from osteoporotic conditions.

So, what happens when the body you once knew begins to acquire a different shape and doesn't respond to activities and physical exertion as it once did when you were 20 years old?

Unfortunately, you can't change the fact that you'll age, but you can control, to some degree, the rate at which you age.

A lot of women unwisely decrease their activity level as they grow older, assuming its proper to grow old gracefully.

Regrettably, they grow old ungracefully, with considerable restrictions on their mobility, self-reliance, and quality of life.

From adulthood into middle age, you will lose approximately 6.6 pounds of lean muscle mass during each decade of life. Numerous studies indicate that muscle mass may decline by 20% to 40% between age 20 and age 65.

These changes have been attributed to a reduction in muscle fiber number and size and reduced nerve innervation, and are correlated with functional declines in muscle strength and endurance in older women.

As you grow older, physical activity, particularly strength training, appears to be the best method to decelerate the adverse effects of aging.

This is strength for living! The few minutes of work you do with weights a few days a week will equal benefits every hour of your day and night, awake and asleep.

While you may now realize that weight training is something that must be done, you may be at a loss when it comes to selecting proper exercise equipment to help you reach your goals.

Unfortunately, not every one has the time to go to a gym 4 - 5 days a week. Most gyms today are very over crowded so you can't get a proper workout in anyway.

This is one of the reasons why so many women have chosen to buy exercise equipment and workout at home.

But with all of the thousands of different pieces of exercise equipment out there, how are you to know what to use?

Not all equipment is created equal. Just because a salesperson in an exercise equipment store tells you that you need it, it doesn't mean that you do.

When you go into any exercise equipment store you'll see lots and lots of different pieces of fancy, shiny exercise equipment.

If the salesperson doesn't sit down with you to discuss your goals and evaluate them with you, (which none of these people anywhere has ever done) it's impossible for them to know what is right for you.

Their only agenda is to sell you as much as they can, regardless if it will help you or not!

Remember, they're just trying to get a sale, they're not interested in listening to your needs.

About the Author

Phil Beckett is the author of The New Women's Guide To Successful Weight Loss & Fitness. He's helped thousands of women with their weight loss, health & fitness goals over the past 14 years. Visit http://www.womens-health-fitness.com to contact Phil

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