Strength and getting stronger as you age

The benefits of strength training aren’t just for athletes and weight lifters, people twice your size and one-third your age. Strength training is a key part of successful aging, too.

There are five key goals of strength training for older adults:

Stronger bones. Strength training puts the cells in your bones to work, leading to improved bone strength and density.

More muscle mass. We lose muscle mass as we age, starting in our 30s. Strength training helps you retain that muscle mass for longer, leading to improved balance as well as strength — and you can impress the grandkids by still being able to open that jar of jam!

Better balance and overall function. The activities we take for granted, like getting out of a chair, tying your shoes and reaching an object from a high shelf, require strength, flexibility and balance. The more you retain your strength, the lower your risk of falls.

You’ll look good. The technical term for this is “improving body composition.” The term the average person is more likely to use is “looking better in the mirror.” Strength training reduces the risk of later-life obesity.

Improved quality of life. Older adults who participate in strength training often report greater psycho-social well-being.

Falls Prevention Week, Sept. 19-23

Fall begins on Thursday, Sept. 22, and the first day of fall coincides every year with Falls Prevention Week. This year that’s the week of Sept. 19 through Sept. 23. In Dutchess County, Mid Hudson Valley Fall Prevention Week is hosted by the Office for the Aging (OFA) along with New York State Senator Sue Serino (R-41), Lower Hudson Valley Fall Prevention Network and the Vassar Brothers Medical Center Trauma Department. OFA is participating in three Falls Prevention Week events this year. Contact OFA to sign up for any of the following:

Monday, Sept. 19, 11 a.m. – Freedom Park, 212 Skidmore Road, LaGrange

Tuesday, Sept. 20, 1 p.m. – Boyce Park, 6420 Route 55, Wingdale

Thursday, Sept. 22, 1 p.m. – Lions Club Pavilion, 82 Beach Road, Pine Plains

Go to www.facebook.com/lhvfallprevention for a full calendar of events.

A very small number of spaces remain in the “A Matter of Balance” classes beginning this month. Classes meet once a week for eight weeks. Walk-ins cannot be accepted, so class participants will be informed of class venues and times once their registration is complete.

Can’t make an eight-week commitment right now? OFA Exercise Classes are available year-round and county wide, with volunteer instructors welcome — training is provided.

Contact OFA to find out more; take a look at www.dutchessny.gov/seniorexercise for the full range of what’s available to help older adults stay active.

 

Golden Living is prepared by Dutchess County OFA Director Todd N. Tancredi, who may be reached at 845-486-2555, ofa@dutchessny.gov or via the OFA website at www.dutchessny.gov/aging.

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