Aerobic exercise keeps the cardiovascular system in check by strengthening the heart and lungs, but that’s only part of a thorough exercise program. Strength training lowers the risk of chronic disease from disability and inactivity and can help older adults stay active and independent, Dowd says.
Not only does strength training build muscle mass, but it can help burn excess fat, lower blood pressure, decrease the risk for developing diseases like diabetes and reduce chronic pain caused from conditions like arthritis.
“Not moving is detrimental to someone suffering from arthritis because as you continue to weaken, your pain will increase, and it will make activities of daily living more and more unbearable,” Dowd explains.
Getting past the point of discomfort during an exercise routine could start with simple range of motion and stretching exercises, adding in a bit of cardio and finally including strength training to increase muscle mass, which will eliminate some of the stress surrounding those painful joints, Dowd says.