Benefits of Strength Training for Baby Boomers ... and Beyond

The number of baby boomers is growing in leaps and bounds, and more than any other demographic, this population realizes the importance of staying healthy. As baby boomers age, regular strength training is the key to improving joint flexibility, reducing the risk, hopefully postponing the development of arthritis, osteoporosis, heart disease or diabetes.

In terms of weight loss, sadly, low calorie diets alone don't work – they merely punish the soul and cause metabolism to plummet. That's not what you want - you want to raise your metabolism. For baby boomers this is particularly important, as strength training raises your metabolism and helps you to avoid the metabolic sluggishness that often plagues people who are over 50.

Here are eight reasons for Baby Boomers ... and beyond to start
strength training:

  • Improve weight maintenance. Strength training is crucial to weight control. People who have more muscle mass have a higher metabolic rate. When you're asleep, fat burns at a rate of five calories an hour and muscle burns around 50. This is an excellent reason to increase lean muscle mass.

  • Prevent osteoporosis. Osteoporosis affects older women AND men. Studies indicate strength training increases bone density and may reduce the risk of fractures among women aged 50-70.

  • Risk of diabetes. Lean muscle tissue helps the body to metabolize blood sugar, which lowers the risk of late onset diabetes.

  • Ease arthritic symptoms. Strength training can reduce pain by strengthening muscles that protect joints and can also extend the range of motion in some joints.

  • Increase muscle mass / endurance. More lean muscle mass means everyday tasks are easier, endurance is greater, and there's more energy at the end of the day.

  • Control hypertension / cholesterol levels. Studies have indicated that, together with cardio exercising, strength training contributes to controlling hypertension and cholesterol levels.

  • Restore balance – reduce falls. Strengthening exercises, when done properly and through the full range of motion, increase flexibility and balance. One study revealed people aged 80+ showed a 40% reduction in falls with simple strength and balance training.

  • Create a 'toned' body. Regular strength training, in tandem with cardio exercising and a reduced fat diet will result in a 'toned' look, particularly in the upper body.

Finally, you do NOT need to use expensive equipment to strengthen muscles.
You can use free weights, resistance bands and tubing … or everyday household items, such as food cans.