Baby Boomers

Weight Training for a Healthy Brain

November 23, 2020 • Fenny Peiffer

Senior Fitness

Next time you go to the gym, you might want to skip your treadmill workout in favor of a few bicep curls. Researchers are linking weight training to better brain function, and a lower risk of diseases such as dementia, and Alzheimer’s. It’s a known fact that physical fitness and longevity go hand in hand, but resistance training is proving to be particularly beneficial for older adults. Baby boomers are getting younger by the second, surpassing millennials in many aspects including signing up for gym memberships. Fitness centers across the country are seeing an increase in 55+ members, many becoming personal trainers.

According to a peer-reviewed article published by the University of New Mexico, studies performed on older adults, have shown weight lifting to improve memory, anxiety, and depression. Strength training is ideal for older adults because it is low impact, builds strength, and burns fat. People often think long, drawn-out cardio is the best way to lose weight, and while it does a good job of burning calories, over time it can decrease muscle mass, and accelerate aging. Two to three days per week of weight training is a good starting point for healthy seniors and always check with your healthcare provider before starting any exercise regime.

Weight training doesn’t have to involve weights or fancy gym equipment. Bodyweight exercise such as yoga, or push-ups uses the body as resistance and is highly effective for building muscle and improving balance. Yoga is a great tool to tone the body with poses that are designed to resist gravity and strengthen core muscles. The stronger the abdominals, the lower the risk of a back injury.

Many 55+ active adult communities feature a gym as an amenity option to make fitness accessible to everyone. Most offer classes such as Yoga, or Pilates, many with on-site personal trainers to help customize your workout based on specific needs. Everyone has a starting point, and modifying exercise for any limitation is absolutely acceptable and encouraged.

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