Today I want to discuss why the elderly population can benefit from strength training. The main focus of today will be age related muscle loss and decrease in bone mineral density, quite often accompanied by loss of mobility and increased frailty. Let’s start by defining some terms. Sarcopenia, age related atrophy (atrophy meaning loss of muscle). Osteoporosis and osteopenia, in simple terms, both relate to bones becoming brittle and fragile (osteopenia not being as severe as osteoporosis). Now, knowing today’s terminology, let’s dive into how strength training can help prevent and reverse some of these, not so fun, age related issues. The goal of strength training is to provide a stimulus, recover from that stimulus, and adapt to that stimulus. It is a way to progressively overload the body to continuously recover and adapt to a greater stimulus over time. The body adapts to this progressively overloading stimulus in many ways, one of which is hypertrophy, or muscle growth. Strength training leads to hypertrophy; therefore helps reverse or prevent sarcopenia, age related muscle loss. The body also responds to strength training by increasing bone mineral density. As the skeletal system is stressed, due to the increasing load, it begins to remodel and also become stronger. Strength training helps prevent and reverse the effects of osteopenia and osteoporosis by increasing bone mineral density. On top of sarcopenia, osteopenia and osterporosis, many elderly people suffer from lack of proprioception, stability and mobility leading to loss of independence and quality of life. Strength training requires balance and a full range of motion. There may have to be modifications at first to accommodate for this lack of stability and mobility, but overtime the person will adapt and become stronger. As they become stronger, balance improves and their range of motion drastically increases, leading to a more independent and enjoyable life. To top this list off, strength training is low risk and high reward. For some reason, people associate strength training, especially movements like squat, bench, deadlift and overhead press, to be dangerous but they are not…let me explain. These movements are low impact, bilaterally symmetrical movements and every variable within strength training is controlled… volume, intensity, frequency etc. There is also an endless supply of modifications that can be made. Overall, strength training is very controlled and the reward, hypertrophy, increased bone mineral density, increased mobility, increased balance, etc., far out way the risks. So do yourself a favor, become stronger via strength training and enjoy the many benefits it has to offer! That is it for the day! And remember…only stronger.