If you want to become a personal trainer, you need to know how to train a variety of people. You won’t only be getting clients who are young and fit, but older clients as well. That’s why it’s critical to learn about building muscle in older adults.
When you take Certificate IV in fitness, you will learn even more about how to train people with a range of abilities. For now, keep reading for an intro to building muscle in older adults.
Is Muscle Building Harder for Seniors?
Many people consider weightlifting to be only in the domain of bodybuilders or the young and fit. However, that doesn’t need to be the case! Lifting weights is fantastic for you at any age, even as you get older.
It’s somewhat of a myth that as you age, it becomes harder to build muscle. This likely stems from the fact that muscles will naturally weaken as you get older. However, that doesn’t mean that building muscle is any more of a challenge than it was before! This decline in muscle has many effects, from weakness to being prone to injuries. Luckily, this can be reversed by keeping fit and healthy with weightlifting!
Research from one journal, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, uncovered that seniors who start weightlifting after the age of 50 can reverse this muscle loss. Resistance exercise is the key to this, which is any type of exercise that stretches your muscles. Lifting weights fits perfectly into this category. Stretching your muscles in this way triggers your body’s muscle-building response. When you lift, your muscles must adapt to the damage caused and keep building up to protect you during future lifting sessions. This increases your muscle fibres and size.
A comprehensive review of 39 different studies that found that people over 50 can increase muscle mass in just 5 months by up to an average of up to 2.5 pounds. Those are some incredible results! That’s even more muscle than the participants would have naturally lost across those months, proving that it not only reverses aging effects on muscles but builds muscle as well.
Benefits of Weightlifting for Older Adults
There are many benefits to seniors who lift and build muscle. They will be come healthier, fitter, and more active. Here are some more benefits:
Having stronger muscles can help seniors to prevent falls. When you start lifting weights, this will not only increase muscle but also improve your balance. A study done by Tufts University discovered evidence that balance could be improved by up to 14% in women who lifted weights for a year or more. The control group had a 9% decline in balance in the same time period.
Getting stronger muscles and better balance are two of the best things you can do to prevent falls for older adults.
Preventing falls has the added benefit of preventing broken bones. If these people are no longer at risk of falling, they are far less likely to break any bones.
You need to be mindful of getting seniors to start on weightlifting slowly, especially if they are already experiencing a decline in muscle. They are likely to have a weaker starting point than younger people if they have not already been lifting.
Get Better at Walking
It may seem unusual that there is a need for improving walking ability, however, walking can be a struggle for many seniors. A study from the University of Vermont found that after 12 weeks of weightlifting, the senior participants could walk up to 40% further with no breaks. That’s fantastic news for anyone who struggles to make their way around a supermarket or down to the corner shop.
Not only that, but weak leg muscles have been linked to predicting future disabilities. This includes being unable to walk. Helping older adults to build up muscle can keep them much healthier in the future than they otherwise would have been.
Amongst seniors, diabetes is a prolific issue. Usually, this is combatted by controlling glucose levels with medication. But there is another way of beating diabetes. Lifting weights can also help with glucose control.
The results of one study on people with diabetes showed that the participants greatly improved in glucose control having lifted weights for 16 weeks. This was compared with taking medication for the same issue.
Learn More About Fitness for All Ages
If you’re a fitness fanatic who wants to help others with their fitness, you should consider studying Certificate 3 in Fitness. Across this course, you will learn to recognise and implement different considerations for exercises of different demographics. This means that you will learn about the best ways to train seniors so that you can help them stay healthy for longer. This will enable you to effectively instruct older clients in exercise.
This course can be done online in your own time, or in-person if you prefer. This makes it easy to fit around your job and family commitments. Get started with this course and discover a whole new career in fitness and helping others! It’s extremely rewarding work because you get to help people get fitter and become more agile.
Contact us today to discuss the course and find out how you can enrol.