As time goes along, a lot of things change. Our bodies aren’t as strong as they used to be, but a little effort goes a long way when it comes to keeping ourselves in shape.
Later in life women are often told to to skip high-intensity workouts to avoid injuries and fractures, but we also know that exercise is essential to maintaining our strength and vitality. So, how much is too much? And what’s the best way to work out without putting ourselves at risk? One team of researchers set out to answer this question, and according to them, intense strength training is your best bet.
For the study, 101 women age 65 and older with low bone mass were recruited and assigned to complete eight months of either: twice‐weekly, 30‐minute supervised sessions of intense strength training (five sets of five repetitions per exercise), or an at-home, low‐intensity exercise program. Before, during, and after the experiment, measurements were taken to assess the bone mass of the subjects’ lumbar spine and femur bone. The researchers also measured the subjects’ functional strength by having them perform simple movements like getting up, reaching forward, and sitting‐to‐standing.
According to their results, bone strength and functional performance in postmenopausal women with low bone mass went up in the group doing the intense strength training program. And contrary to popular belief, there were no adverse effects like fractures or injuries — though it’s important to note that the workouts were performed under highly supervised conditions.
That being said, these results point to the fact that intense strength training can help women build strong bones and gain strength after menopause. But if even hearing the words “intense strength training” freak you out, don’t worry. Luckily, you can get a pretty intense strength workout done without any equipment. In fact, you can even just use your body weight.
Functional fitness is a type of intense strength training that can help you build your body’s overall strength, and it’s one of the best ways to exercise as you get older because it enhances your ability to do everyday activities. Functional fitness exercises generally involve your own body weight, like push-ups, planks, or squats. You can also add resistance bands, dumbbells, or a kettle bell to your routine to add extra weight and make your workout more intense.
The best part? You can do this all at home! Need some inspiration to get you started? Check out this super simple functional fitness routine you can finish in your living room in 15 minutes.