September 01, 2019

Weight training — A good motivator

Weight training — also referred to as strength training or resistance training — is an excellent way to improve fitness and build strength. Doing so can help improve mobility and balance and help manage weight and chronic conditions. In addition, the benefits may be more than physical.

A study published in Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports suggests that weight training may also boost the confidence of older adults and increase their motivation to keep exercising. Researchers followed participants for nine months of supervised weight training. When checked in on a year after the study ended, almost half were still training at least once a week. Researchers noted participants' increased self-confidence in their training abilities and capacity to cope with training obstacles. Participants also exhibited improved planning skills — such as when, where and how to exercise — and increased motivation. While the study couldn't prove weight training itself caused these improvements, the many established benefits of this type of exercise make it a great choice for older adults.

Mayo Clinic experts encourage older adults to participate in weight training at least twice a week. If you haven't been active, check with your doctor before starting. Consider finding small classes or trainers who have experience working with beginners or older adults so that you can learn proper technique and avoid injury. Using a trainer or taking a class provides an opportunity for socialization, another key component of healthy aging.