Training tips for the over 50s
Personal Trainer, Derek Gardner – http://www.healthmattersplus.co.uk
Once adults pass their physical prime in their teens and 20s, they lose an average of one pound of lean mass per year. This is mostly in the form of muscle tissue and can be hidden by the fact that overall body weight tends to increase by approximately one pound per year. Unchecked, the gradual loss of muscle strength is the main reason elderly individuals have difficulty performing daily tasks which were once easy, and ultimately lose their independence. However, this is not an inevitable consequence of ageing, instead, it is an inevitable consequence of muscle disuse. Below are 9 training tips for maintaining, and increasing overall body strength, and improving fitness:
1. Do at least one exercise for each of the main muscle groups. (i.e chest, back, and legs). There is no need to worry too much about shoulders, biceps and triceps, as you cant do an upper body pushing or pulling exercise without using them.
2. You should aim to weight train two to three times per week. Recent studies haves shown two times per week to be at least as productive as three times per week.
3. If you are new to strength training, or returning after a long lay off, I would suggest that you begin with one set of each exercise, and increase the number of sets only when you begin to feel comfortable.
4. The training resistance or weight load should be between 60 to 90 percent of maximum to increase muscle size and strength.
5. In general, I would recommended doing 8 to 12 repetitions per exercise
6. The key to muscle growth is to progressively increase the amount of resistance you use. As soon as you can do 12 to 15 repetitions, with the proper form, raise the weight by five to ten percent. (which for most seniors translates into one to three pounds or one and a half kilos).
7. Try not to rush your movement when performing the exercises. try and use a pace of two seconds up (concentric phase) and four seconds down (eccentric phase).
8. Full range exercise is necessary for building full range muscle strength. So always try to perform each exercise through the complete range of joint movement, taking your muscles from their fully extended position to their fully contracted position and back.
9. In addition to controlled movement speed and full movement range, exercise technique is critical when training older adults. Seniors should always practice proper posture when performing strength exercises with particular emphasis on body stability and back support.