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The benefits of strength training for over 60s

Strength training is a game-changer for individuals all throughout their lives, but it is little known that there are huge benefits to maintaining your strength training beyond your 60s, offering a myriad of physical and mental health benefits. If you’re wondering why strength training is important as you age, our guide is here to help delve into the facts. 


Over 60's strength training

The benefits of strength training for over 60s 

Exercise in general can have a massive effect on both your mental and physical health, and this remains an important part of your life as you age. The gradual loss of muscle mass, also known as sarcopenia, is a natural part of the aging process. While the exact age at which muscle mass loss begins can vary among individuals, it typically becomes more noticeable as people enter their 30s and accelerates in the later decades of life, particularly from your 50s. But strength training can help to stop this, amongst other benefits which we’ve listed below. 

 

  • Maintaining Muscle Mass: As we age, there is a natural decline in muscle mass and strength. Strength training helps counteract this by promoting muscle retention and growth, supporting overall mobility and functionality.

  • Bone Health: Weight-bearing exercises, a key component of strength training, contribute to bone density. This is crucial for preventing osteoporosis and reducing the risk of fractures and falls.

  • Joint Health: Strengthening the muscles around joints provides additional support, reducing the risk of injuries and enhancing joint stability. This is particularly important for individuals dealing with arthritis or joint discomfort.

  • Metabolism Boost: Strength training helps maintain or increase lean muscle mass, which, in turn, contributes to a higher resting metabolic rate. This can support weight management and overall metabolic health.

  • Improved Balance and Coordination: Functional exercises in strength training enhance balance and coordination, key elements for preventing accidents and maintaining independence.

  • Osteoporosis: Many of the benefits above combine together to help reduce the issues faced by those with osteoporosis, increasing bone density, stimulating bone-forming cells and preventing bone loss. 


Strength training equipment for over 60's

Common concerns and misconceptions of strength training over 60

With proper guidance and a tailored over 60s fitness program, strength training can be safe for individuals over 60. Start with low resistance and gradually progress, focusing on form and controlled movements. It can be very beneficial to work with a personal trainer, such as our team of trainers based in Barnstaple, to support you through your fitness journey and reduce the risks associated with strength training. 


  • Will strength training make me bulky? Strength training for older adults is not about getting bulky. It's about functional strength, flexibility, and overall well-being. Tailored programs prioritise these elements without excessive muscle mass gain.

  • I have a certain injury or weakness, is this a problem? Strength training can be adapted to various fitness levels and physical conditions. Whether you're a seasoned gym-goer or just starting, there are suitable exercises and modifications for everyone.

  • Is my cardiovascular health good enough? While strength training is not a replacement for cardiovascular exercise, it complements it. Combining strength training with aerobic activities provides a holistic approach to cardiovascular and overall health.

  • Am I fit enough? Strength training offers a practical solution for combating the effects of sedentary lifestyles common in older age. It's never too late to start and experience the transformative benefits.


Strength training class

Creating a training program for over 60s

When looking at building a program we will take all of your personal needs into account, including injuries, fitness levels, personal goals, mobility, time and more. Here’s a brief overview of what you can expect if you come and work with one of our personal trainers in Barnstaple, or online.


  • Health assessment: Before starting any exercise program, it is wise to consult with your healthcare provider to ensure that strength training is safe for you, especially if you have underlying health conditions. We will complete our own assessment when we meet you to ensure we have a full picture of your fitness.

  • Initial assessment: We’ll take you through an initial assessment of a range of exercises to ascertain your current fitness levels, your goals and where your current weaknesses and worries are. 

  • Building your program: We’ll build a custom program that you’ll work on in four to six week blocks. At the end of each block we’ll be able to see where you’ve made improvements, which exercises you liked and which you struggled with, informing the next block. We’ll also review your progress on a quarterly basis to track your improvements vs. your initial assessment. 

  • Focus on functional movements: We will prioritise exercises that mimic everyday activities. Squats, lunges, and pushing/pulling motions enhance functionality and improve daily life movements, especially if there are specific activities that you struggle with day-to-day, our tailored programs will be working to improve these. We may also integrate balance exercises, such as standing on one leg or using stability balls, to enhance coordination and reduce the risk of falls.

  • Progress gradually: Progression is key. So we will start with basic movements and gradually incorporate more complex exercises as your strength improves.

  • Consistency over intensity: Consistency is more important than intensity. Aim for at least two strength training sessions per week, allowing your body time to recover between sessions.

  • Listen to your body: Pay attention to how your body responds to each exercise. If something doesn't feel right, let us know so that we can work through this with you. 


Starting your strength training at 60 is a fantastic proactive step toward a healthier and stronger you! Strength training for individuals over 60 is a transformative journey that offers numerous benefits for both physical and mental well-being and we’d love to help you on that journey. So book in a consultation with us today. 


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