Research has shown that strengthening exercises are both safe and effective for women and men of all ages, including those who are not in perfect health. In fact, people with health concerns including heart disease or arthritis often benefit the most from an exercise program that includes lifting weights a few times a week.
There are numerous benefits to strength training regularly, particularly as you grow older. It can be very powerful in reducing the signs and symptoms of several chronic conditions, including: arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, back pain and depression.
As people age, poor balance and flexibility contribute to falls and broken bones. These fractures can result in significant disability and in some cases, fatal complications. Strengthening exercises, when done properly and through the full range of motion, increase a person’s flexibility and balance, which decrease the likelihood and severity of falls. One study in New Zealand of women 80 years of age and older showed a 40% reduction in falls with simple strength and balance training.
In people with diabetes, strength training has helped many individuals to manage their blood glucose levels. Strength training provides similar improvements in depression as anti-depressant medications. When older adults participate in strength training programs, their self-confidence and self-esteem improve, which has a strong impact on their overall quality of life.
Weight training improves sleep quality, allowing you to fall asleep more quickly, sleep more deeply, awaken less often and sleep longer. Strength training is also very important for cardiac health, because the body is leaner. Many cardiac patients gained strength, flexibility as well as aerobic capacity when they did weight training three times a week. Scientific research has shown that exercise can slow the physiological aging clock, by building muscle mass and bone density.