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The benefits of strength training for adults 55 and older

Discover Strength is a local gym touting the health benefits of lifting weights as we age.

PLYMOUTH, Minn. — As we age, we lose muscle tissue and bone density, which often leads to mobility issues. At Discover Strength, they are showing aging adults how to safely incorporate strength training into their routine and how it can ultimately improve their quality of life.

CEO Luke Carlson has based Discover Strength’s fitness prescription on peer-reviewed scientific research to ensure the safest and most effective workout. “We know that there is no fountain of youth but there is strength training,” he said. 

Studies show strength training participation drops significantly in adults over 55, which is when Carlson says the workout starts to benefit people the most. That’s because lifting weights can help slow two key things we all deal with during the aging process: sarcopenia, which is the loss of muscle and osteoporosis, which is a decrease in bone mineral density.

Contrary to what most of the world believes, Carlson encourages older adults to lift heavier weights. “We’ve always used lighter weights for our older adults, we actually need a heavier weight because it is the heavier weight and the load on our bone that allow us to overcome osteoporosis to improve our bone mineral densities.”

When using weights, to get the maximum benefit, it’s important to maintain proper form and use slow controlled movements that eliminate momentum. If working out at home, to get the same benefit Carlson is adamant weights are needed. “The key here is that he has to use weight," Carlson said. "We are not looking for a bodyweight exercise because there is not enough load on the bone, and that is the key for the bone mineral density improvement.”

It’s recommended to continue every strength training exercise to the point called "momentary muscle failure." That is the point where you can’t do another rep with perfect form.

Discover Strength offers 1-on-1 or small personalized group strength training sessions. More information is available here

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