Benefits of resistance training for older adults

With resistance training, seniors gain strength, improve stability and avoid problems related to aging. What exercises are suitable?

Last update: October 28, 2021

On the way to old age, the body loses its agility, which affects daily activities. Resistance training in older adults it is a way to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.

It is proven that playing sports improves skills, induces the development of muscle strength, promotes balance and prevents health problems, such as sarcopenia. The university magazine Sanus explains that little or no physical activity leads to this disease. In addition, it concludes that exercise causes significant changes in the elderly.

For its part, the Spanish Heart Foundation emphasizes that exercising at all stages of life, eating healthy and not smoking protects against cardiovascular diseases. In the same order, the World Health Organization adds as benefits mental well-being, prevention of diabetes, high blood pressure and other non-communicable diseases.

Importance of resistance training in older adults

When an older adult goes for a walk, jog, swim, rake in the yard, or dance, he performs resistance exercises. These dynamics increase and prolong the rhythm of your heartbeat and breathing..

According to a text published in the Journal of Physical Education: Renewing Theory and Practice, strength training is effective in older adults because it counteracts disuse, minimizes fears, and confronts physiological vulnerability.

Other advantages are as follows:

  • Provides energy: doing sports releases endorphins, that is, neurotransmitters linked to the reduction of pain and the feeling of well-being.
  • Supports cognitive health: if the body is healthy, the mind is probably the same. Regular exercise reduces levels of memory loss and supports cognitive abilities.
  • Self-sufficiency: resistance training in older adults generates greater independence. While a sedentary lifestyle slows down processes, active elderly people walk, bathe, cook and are dynamic without help.
  • Better fall asleep: being less stressed, older adults rest more and wake up in good spirits.

Recommended exercises

Resistance training for the elderly has to accommodate your limitations or conditions. Similarly, the approval of a doctor who guarantees the fitness of the body is essential.


Walking builds muscle strength and is perfect for minimizing the danger of heart disease, stroke, obesity, and high blood pressure. Specify a goal in daily minutes Or incorporate into your routine actions such as parking a little far away, walking trails, preferring the stairs or walking the dog.

Walks are simple exercises that improve aerobic endurance in older adults.

Water aerobics

Water aerobics is suggested for patients with arthritis or joint pain. Water stimulates natural resistance and you will not need weights.

You can do push-ups, leg raises, jogging and flap kicking. This way you enhance flexibility, strength and balance without stressing the body.


Pilates movements are low impact, focused on alignment, core strength, breathing, and concentration. Their practices do not require sophisticated equipment.


It is acceptable to climb stairs or lift objects off the ground. You can also stand in front of a chair, with your feet spread, exceeding the width of your shoulders.

Extend your arms parallel to the ground, bend your knees and lower slowly. Count to 3, go up and repeat 12 times. The chair is in case you need to hold on.

Resistance bands

These are exercises to strengthen the core using elastic straps. While benefiting posture, Training with bands increases mobility and stability. Older adults can do triceps or leg presses and curl of biceps.

Lying hip bridge

This is a glute-oriented dynamic. Lie on your back, bend your knees and put your feet on the floor. Flatten your lower back on the floor, squeeze your buttocks, and push your hips into the air.

Move your feet as if you want to remove your toes from your shoes. Pause, go down and start again.

Dumbbell strength

Sport with weights reduces symptoms of diabetes, depression, back pain and osteoporosis. With proper care, you can perform dumbbell routines such as the front raise, the incline row, and the press shoulders.

Push-ups on the wall

Instead of push-ups on the floor, you use the wall for support. Stand in front of a wall, keeping a certain distance. Lean your body forward and touch the wall with your palms at shoulder height. Count to 5, pause and go back. Repeat as many times as you can.

Lateral leg raises

Support yourself with a chair next to it. Put a resistance band around the ankles, put the weight on the right leg and lift the left a few inches without tilting the torso. Complete 12 reps with hips, knees, and feet aligned.


This is a movement that tightens the lower back, abdomen, and glutes.. Face down, rest your hands and knees on the floor. Contracting your abdominal area and with your back straight, raise your right arm and stretch your left leg parallel to the floor. Hold the position for several seconds, lower yourself and repeat with the opposite arm and leg.

Although bird-dog exercise is associated with young people, older adults can do it with care and persistence.

Bodyweight workouts

Bodyweight workouts neutralize the effects of muscle wasting and wasting. They are circuits that include routinessuch as bird-dog, hip bridges, and squats.

Why is professional guidance necessary in resistance training for older adults?

The success of resistance training, regardless of age, is that exercise causes fatigue between reps. In any case, it begins with a warm-up of 5 to 10 minutes and never forget to stretch at the end. The practice is effective at least 2 times a week, but not consecutive.

Establishing an exercise plan requires the guidance of a specialized instructor. A work published by the Multidisciplinary Scientific Center of Knowledge Magazine highlights that exercising with an instructor benefits older people.

Professionals adjust to the health requirements of the person.

Considerations for resistance training in older adults

It is essential that the training takes into account the frailty or chronic conditions of the elderly. This is because not all of them are suitable routines for everyone.

Likewise, the older adult has to pay attention to his body. While fatigue is a gauge, endurance activities should tire without leaving you speechless, dizzy or with chest pain.

If you’re not ready for rigorous sports days yet, try short walks or strenuous housework. Little by little you will get the rhythm. Cheer up!

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