Seniors Should Be Strength Training, and Here’s Why

If you’re 65 or older and not lifting weights, it might be time to start. More research than ever is showing the impact of weight lifting for senior health, suggesting that even light resistance training can bring numerous benefits to older adults. If you’re not in this stage of life yet, you may want to encourage your parents and senior friends to take up a regular lifting routine. Here’s what the experts have to say about strength training in your golden years.

The Benefits

Why is it so important that seniors lift? Primarily because muscle loss is a common component of aging. According to NBC, seniors who don’t lift can potentially lose 20 to 40 percent of the muscle mass they had when they were younger.

This isn’t a question of looking good, either. Muscle is vital for seniors who run the risk of becoming frail without it. Building muscle can help seniors retain the ability to walk, shop for groceries, clean their homes, socialize with friends, avoid falls, travel and generally live full, active lives.

“Experts say that even small gains in muscle – too small to see – can make significant differences in how seniors live,” Karen Collins, R.D., reported for NBC. “Strength training can affect whether an older person can get out of a chair without help. It can also influence their sense of balance, risk of falls and fractures and the ability to climb stairs or carry groceries.”

The Research

We know that strength training can increase seniors’ quality of life because there’s an enormous amount of research proving as such. NBC cites a study that followed a group of seniors for two years. After just six months of light resistance (weight) training, the participants had increased their muscle mass by 31 percent.

Recommendations and Tips for Getting Started

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends strength training for all seniors who are up to the task. Seniors should try to get at least two workouts in per week. Start off with calisthenics such as stair climbing and walking, eventually adding light weights to the mix.

Seniors who are just starting out should try to achieve an exertion level of about 5-6, according to the ACSM. This means that on a scale of 1-10, the individual should feel that they are exerting themselves at about a level of 5-6. In other words, definitely feeling a little exercise, but certainly not fatiguing themselves.

In terms of activity types, you have plenty of options. Yoga is both strength-building and cardiovascular in nature, and it can be a fantastic option for seniors looking to add some muscle mass. Walking, stair climbing and water aerobics are also great options. Talk to your doctor before beginning a workout regime, especially if you haven’t been active in a while or are concerned about your cardiovascular health.


mac C
mac C11 days ago

So true. Both of my parents couldn't walk towards the end of their long lives. I don't plan on following that route. Both were active even in their 40's and 50's but slowed way down in their late 60's and 70's and so on. Thank your for this information.

Richard B
Roger B19 days ago


Marija Mohoric
Marija M20 days ago


Hannah A
Hannah A20 days ago

Thank you.

Isabel A
Isabel A21 days ago

thank you

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Sue H2 months ago

Thanks for sharing.