Strength training (also called weight lifting) builds lean muscle mass, which increases your physical strength and your bone density. It is especially beneficial as people age, because it reduces the signs and symptoms of:
Examples of strength training include:
If you have not lifted weights before, make an appointment with a certified athletic trainer to help you develop a safe strength-training program. You can find a trainer at a local gym or through a referral from your doctor or a friend.
Tips for getting started:
Note: Before starting any type of exercise program, check with your doctor about any possible medical problems you may have that would limit your exercise program.
American Council on Exercise
Shape Up America!
Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine
2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. United States Department of Health and Human Services website. Available at: http://www.health.gov/PAGuidelines/pdf/paguide.pdf. Accessed February 3, 2014.
Exercise: how to get started. American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://www.aafp.org/afp/20061215/2095ph.html. Published December 2006. Accessed February 3, 2014.
Growing stronger: strength training for older adults. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/growingstronger/index.html. Updated February 24, 2011. Accessed February 3, 2014.
Last reviewed February 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.