Resistance Training for Older Adults

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As the fastest growing segment of the country’s population, older adults should be a focus for the fitness industry.

With increased changes of chronic disease, decrease functional activities, a sedentary lifestyle and other overwhelming numbers of issues, the older adult should be a focus for us as personal trainers.

Years ago the understanding of helping those over 50 was to “relax” and “do nothing” so as to avoid injury. Well, that understanding has changed dramatically. Now we have physicians encouraging their patients who are in their “golden years” to exercise – not just for cardiovascular health – but to include resistance training.

Resistance training is exercise that involves weights, bands or force that works the muscles and balance.

Seeing older ones go from being able to lift their grandchildren and have an active life, to not being able to get out of their chair at the dinner table or even being able to use the restroom without some type of assistance has become a great concern.

Studies have shown that resistance training in older adults is not only very beneficial, but a must.

For example, in the early 1990s the American Medical Association reported one case study that followed seniors in an assisted living facility.

The subjects where those who were confined to wheelchairs, not because of clinical issues, but because of sedentary issues. All were put on a resistant-exercise regiment. Within three months after they began the program the subjects were functioning without the aid of a wheelchair.

During the next six months those individuals continued to function well on case-study’s exercise program.

However, within two months of the exercise program’s end, 80 percent of the case study’s subjects returned to their wheelchairs.

Functional daily movements (getting in and out of a chair, changing their clothes, cooking and doing laundry, to mention a few) have been greatly improved with individuals who have incorporated resistance training into their exercise routine.

Along with that comes increased strength, coordination, balance, confidence, physical independence and the decreased likelihood of getting a chronic disease.

All of this is such an important benefit to those getting older because as we age we begin to gain fat while we lose muscle, bone and aerobic capacity.

We see so many older ones who put so much focus on their financial stability that they completely lose site of the more important issue: their health.

Yes, it’s important to spend time and energy planning for retirement to guarantee enough money to pay the bills, enjoy travel, hobbies and time with family. But to ensure truly golden years, it’s crucial we not neglect our health. 

Resistance training is very important for everyone, but it’s especially true as we grow older. 

With so many negative possibilities with regard to health issues, resistance training is a must to promote “golden years” that feature a positive, healthy and beneficial lifestyle.

Ed White has worked in the fitness industry for more than 22 years and is a certified personal trainer. He has complemented his love of personal training with 12 years’ experience in spine care in physical therapy and three years as administrator for a medical clinic. He has a record of success in teaching people how to care for their body through exercise and proper nutrition. He now owns EveryDay Fitness on Athens Avenue in Redding where he continues helping people of all ages reach their goal. He may be reached at 530-246-1902. For more information visit his website at

is a certified personal trainer who has worked in the fitness industry for more than 22 years. He has 12 years’ experience in spine care in physical therapy and three years as a medical clinic administrator. He owns EveryDay Fitness on Athens Avenue in Redding, and can be reached at 530-246-1902 or at his website,
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10 Responses

  1. Avatar Judy Smith says:

    After witnessing first hand a parent who struggled with strength, coordination, and balance I totally agree with Ed's article. I wish everyone could see the benefits of strength training and how much better their "golden years" would be. It is never too late to start, I did at 58!

  2. Nice article! Very well said. Seniors really need some of these stuff to help preserve strength get away with some dreaded diseases brought about by old age.

  3. Avatar pmarshall says:

    yes, resistance training has to be very important. I have weights, but I just look at them. Not the thing to do.

  4. Avatar Stephanie Luke says:

    Very good ideas. I just wish you could write paragraphs that consisted of more than one sentence. It is a "fragmenting" experience to read such a posting. It's never too late to learn English composition! Just sayin'.

    • Doni Greenberg Doni Greenberg says:

      Stephanie, some coding issues caused extra spacing between this article's sentences. We trust comprehension didn't suffer, though.

      Thanks for reading.

  5. Avatar KarenC says:

    I have always wondered why some folks have the need to express their negative opinion, when no one asked for it. It is important to the rest of the readers? Doni did not delete the text because of this….so why is it necessary to insert a negative post that no one really cares about?

  6. Avatar Dr Dinesh Mantri says:

    In our busy lives, we often think we have no time to exercise. If you make excuses for not having time to exercise, you’d better find time for illness. As Ed White points out in this excellent article, it is critical as we hit the big 5-0 and beyond to step up to the plate and make resistance training a precious to do item. Start by carving out a small amount of time from your busy schedule and see how quickly it pays off big time in maintaining your good health! And nothing else really matters because without healthy minds and bodies, all your dreams and plans, your very quality of life, can go out the window. I speak from personal experience when I say that having a knowledgeable and experienced personal trainer is extremely important – thank you, Ed, for keeping me headed in the right direction!

  7. Avatar Menzrob says:

    Any recommendations for some simple, at-home, activities?

    • Avatar Ed White says:

      Before I give you any exercises I think it is wise for you to email me and let me know a little bit about you and your current level of fitness. I would hate to give you any exercises then only to find out that because of some type of limitation you hurt yourself. My email is