Stay Strong Stay Healthy Strength Training Program
Last year, Duke University published a study in the Journal of the American Heart Association that highlighted the importance and the accessibility of exercise. Researchers reported that people don’t have to become gym rats to reap the rewards of physical activity. Simply making modest modifications throughout your daily routine that allow you to incorporate small bursts of activity (taking the stairs, parking farther away, doing jumping jacks during TV commercials) can have significant impact on reducing your risk for disease and death.
But what if the thought of a jumping jack petrifies you? And, what if you avoid the stairs because you can’t climb them? Or, what if walking unassisted isn’t even a possibility? Many older adults would love to exercise more to improve their health, but knowing where to start seems too daunting a task. If this describes you, then you’re a perfect candidate for K-State Extension’s Stay Strong, Stay Healthy program.
Strength building program for aging adults
Stay Strong, Stay Healthy is an eight-week program that can help you get started on the road to better health no matter your starting point. The goal of this evidence-based program is to improve health and quality of life through strength training. Sessions include warm-up exercises, simple strengthening exercises with or without weights, and cool-down stretches. This program is built on simple, strength-building exercises that will improve balance, health and state of mind.
The classes meet for one hour on Tuesday and Thursday mornings in Olathe. A day of rest is scheduled between exercise classes. Participants are encouraged to do the exercises on their own one other time during the week. Over the eight weeks, participants learn the exercises and begin to improve their strength and balance. After eight weeks, participants are encouraged to continue this effective program at home or with a community group.
The program does not require a membership nor does it require special equipment as weights are provided. Instruction is provided by trained and certified professionals.
The benefits of strength training
Aging adults, particularly older women, can benefit tremendously from strength training. Strength training can be very effective in reducing the risk factors for many chronic conditions and diseases, and may actually reverse the disease process.
The benefits of strength training include:
- Increased muscle mass and strength
- Restoration of balance and flexibility
- Improved bone density and reduced risk of osteoporosis and related fractures
- Decreased arthritis pain
- Weight maintenance
- Reduced risk of diabetes, heart disease and depression
- Improved stress management
- Improved self-confidence, sleep quality and physical vitality
Aerobic exercise, such as walking, jogging or swimming, has excellent health benefits. It maintains the heart and lungs, and increases cardiovascular fitness and endurance. But aerobic activity does not make your muscles stronger. Strength training does. Studies have shown that lifting weights two or three times per week increases strength by building muscle mass and bone density. Strength training, particularly in conjunction with regular aerobic exercise, can also have a profound impact on a person’s mental and emotional health.