By Nina Schnipper

Am I aging “successfully”? As we age, we question if our physical abilities match our chronological age.

One way to measure how we are physically aging is by our daily activities. * Are some of your everyday tasks becoming more difficult? * Do common activities leave you sore? * Do you get injured more frequently?

If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, you need to evaluate your general fitness level. One simple way to make dramatic health improvements is to strength train.

Strength training, or resistance training, is beneficial for people at any age. There are many reasons why seniors, especially, should get stronger. For example:

Becoming stronger prevents injuries.

Strength train heals past injuries.

Strengthening muscles is the #1 Most Effective way to increase bone strength and reverse osteoporosis.

It is a great calorie-burner, thereby preventing obesity and obesity-related illness such as heart disease.

Strength training can be performed with or without special equipment.

Becoming stronger improves self-confidence and body awareness.

Strength training improves muscle function and coordination. It prevents injuries in at least two critical ways.

First, everyday activities become easier as you become stronger. Less demand is put on the muscles. Reducing strain prevents injury.

Second, stronger seniors who participate in sports and physical activities are less likely to injure themselves during those activities.

If you are a senior who wants to strength train, some guidelines may help you get off to the right start. Think about your current exercise work-outs. How will strength training fit in with your cardio and stretching practices? It is best to strength train when muscles are warm, so you might want to consider mixing cardio and strengthening together in one work-out.

Performing each new exercise correctly is critical to an effective strength program. Even the most experienced athletes make mistakes when they start new exercises.

Working with health professionals will help you to

1) choose the right methods for your needs,

2) be safer with equipment, and

3) perform exercises effectively.

Hire a personal fitness trainer to demonstrate new exercises and ensure you are performing them safely and correctly. If you have health challenges or illnesses, you should work with a physical therapist as you start a new program.

Strong seniors can prevent injuries, and above that: they can reverse aging!

Nina Schnipper relieves pain for seniors, athletes, and everyone else, in Colorado’s Aspen valley. She is a massage therapist and fitness trainer at Higher Spa & Studio in Basalt. Nina loves to hike, camp, run, and listen to bluegrass music.

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