The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends weight lifting twice a week as part of a regular senior fitness routine in addition to two hours and 30 minutes of aerobic activity per week. While weight lifting among seniors is already known to help with muscle strength and balance, the full impact of the practice may not have been fully realized until recently.
According to a new study by the Harvard Medical School, weight lifting may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes among women. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease. The study measured the benefits of muscle resistance on top of aerobic exercise. Weight lifting just twice a week combined with at least 150 minutes of cardio can cut the risk of diabetes by at least one-third, the study revealed.
Researchers believe that weight lifting may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes because strength training can increase body mass and might increase the body's capacity for glucose utilization.
Starting out with weight lifting
Strength training is already recommended in addition to regular aerobic activity and a healthy diet. There are numerous benefits that can come with weight lifting, though it is not the only form of strength training that seniors can participate in. For seniors who are new to weight lifting, starting out slowly with only a little bit of weight might be the best route to go. Lifting dumbbells is the most basic form of weight lifting, but using resistance machines can also provide the same effect.
When exercising, be sure to include weight-lifting activities for the legs and the arms – maybe alternating between the two every other day. Gradually, as a person builds up muscle, they should increase the weight in order to maintain the same resistance and challenge muscles. Strong legs are essential for balance later in life. In addition to increasing the amount of weight resistance, doing more repetitions can make the workout more intense.
Seniors who begin a weight-lifting routine should do their best to stick with it in order to see results over time and reduce the risk of developing diseases like diabetes. Monitoring progress is another good rule of thumb to help increase the intensity over time. Motivation can be difficult with strength training, but switching up exercises or completing them with a friend can make the experience more enjoyable.
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