Strength training tips for seniors

Published 6:43 pm Thursday, November 8, 2012

Dear Savvy Senior,
Can lifting weights help with age-related health problems? At age 70, I have diabetes, arthritis and osteoporosis and recently read that strength training could improve my conditions. What can you tell me?
Looking for help

Dear Looking,
A growing body of research shows that strength training exercises can have a profound impact on a person’s health as they age – and you’re never too old to start.
Regular strength training, done at least two nonconsecutive days a week, helps you build muscle strength, increases your bone density and improves your balance, coordination and stamina. It can also help reduce the signs and symptoms of many chronic conditions like arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, back pain, depression and obesity. And some studies even show that it helps improve cognitive function too.

Safety first

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For the most part, strength training exercises – especially if you start conservatively and progress slowly – are safe for most seniors, even those with serious health conditions. But, if you have health concerns or if you are currently inactive, you should talk to your doctor about what may be appropriate for you. A good self-help resource to help you find an appropriate, safe exercise program is the “Exercise and Screening for You” tool at