Well, she says to me the other day that she wants to start doing Jazzercise and Yoga. Now, I have nothing against those things at all, so don't think I'm bashing Jazzercise....BUT I told her that what she really needs to be doing at her age is strength training, especially because she told me she already has low bone density.
Jazzercise is all fine and dandy to stay active, but it's just not the best program for building muscle, gaining strength, or building bone density-all of which are extremely important as you grow older.
Many older people think that walking or doing aerobics is just as good as lifting weights, but the truth is, it's not the same thing at ALL. There's nothing wrong with aerobics, and it should be included as part of an exercise program. But the fact is that strength training provides many benefits that aerobic programs alone do NOT.
Some of the benefits that strength training can provide for older adults:
-Increased flexibility and balance
-Increased muscle and strength
-Decreased risk of falling and injuries
-Relief of arthritis and joint pain
-Increased bone density and reduced risk of fracture
-Improved self confidence and self esteem, less depression
-Decreased body fat
-Improved glucose control, diabetes management
-Decreased lower back pain
Here are some facts: strength begins to decline at about 15% per decade between age 50 and 70, and 5 to 7 pounds of muscle tissue are lost each decade of adult life! This loss of muscle results in a slower metabolism, which then results in weight gain and then to many of the other issues than come along with aging, such as arthritis and diabetes.
Maintaining muscle mass and strength is SO important as we age, not only to improve our health and body composition, but to be able to do the simple things we take for granted when we are young like standing up from a chair, doing house and yardwork, going up a flight of stairs, or carrying grocery bags.
I believe that strength training is the fountain of youth and that it can improve the health and quality of life for older adults in so many ways, yet it is often the most neglected aspect of fitness in that age group. I just cannot stress the importance of it enough!
"We invest time and expense to take good care of our teeth, our general appearance, hair style, etc. and it only seems logical we should dedicate the same attention to proper care of our bodies."-Leonard Therry