How (and Why) to Get Stronger as You Age

New fitness programs are frequently popping up that cater to the growing demands of strength gain. 

But what exactly does getting and being strong mean?

Just because you see someone with six-pack abs or biceps the size of the Incredible Hulk's, doesn't necessarily mean that individual is strong. Being strong doesn't always mean how many pounds you can bench press or how many pounds you can squat. 

Being strong goes beyond the conventional way of thinking, and it is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing your training program.

Strength is defined as one's ability to resist force—more particularly, one's ability to slow the progression of osteoporosis and other degenerative joint diseases as he or she ages, says Bal M. Rajagopalan, who goes by Dr. Raj.

While genetics should be considered, if each individual chooses the right training program, then one can attain his or her highest strength potential. This can reduce the risk of falling, which can cause fractures. Falls are one of the leading causes of death in people older than 65.

With the appropriate training program in place, a person can improve strength, balance, flexibility and power, which will ultimately decrease risks of falling and preserve overall strength as a person gets older.

So how does one choose the right training program to meet his or her individual needs? 

1. Personal Trainer

Consider hiring a qualified personal trainer who can assess your core strength and biomechanics. Biomechanics pertains to the mechanical laws relating to human movement patterns. A trainer with a degree in kinesiology understands the laws of biomechanics, as do some other trainers who hold a national personal training certification that focuses on proper exercise execution.

2. Balanced Workout Routine

Balance out your compression exercises with decompression exercises. In other words, for every two days of strength training with weights, add in one day of yoga or restorative training with foam rolling and stretching. Lengthening the muscles will put less pressure on the joints, which will decrease your risk of joint degeneration.

More: Yoga for Newbies: 4 Poses to Get You Started

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About the Author

Jennifer Zerling, MS

Jennifer "JZ" Zerling, has an M.S. in Kinesiology and holds multiple certifications in personal training, Spin, nutrition and yoga. Her leadership experience includes directing the fitness and nutrition for guests at Stay Fit Housing, directing the fitness and nutrition department for Cenegenics Beverly Hills, clinic management for several Lindora Medical Weight Loss Clinics in Southern California, Fitness and General Management for the Sports Club/LA and fitness programmer for high schools involved in Matthew McConaughey's non-profit foundation, Just Keep Livin. She also developed and operates a successful corporate wellness program for South Bay BMW and writes courses for national personal training organizations. JZ's fitness and nutrition writings can be found in multiple media resources (including JZFitness.com) and she authored the book, Breaking the Chains of Obesity, 107 Tools. She is a fitness and nutrition presenter at national conferences and her JZ Fitness Nutrition app is available on iTunes and Android.
Jennifer "JZ" Zerling, has an M.S. in Kinesiology and holds multiple certifications in personal training, Spin, nutrition and yoga. Her leadership experience includes directing the fitness and nutrition for guests at Stay Fit Housing, directing the fitness and nutrition department for Cenegenics Beverly Hills, clinic management for several Lindora Medical Weight Loss Clinics in Southern California, Fitness and General Management for the Sports Club/LA and fitness programmer for high schools involved in Matthew McConaughey's non-profit foundation, Just Keep Livin. She also developed and operates a successful corporate wellness program for South Bay BMW and writes courses for national personal training organizations. JZ's fitness and nutrition writings can be found in multiple media resources (including JZFitness.com) and she authored the book, Breaking the Chains of Obesity, 107 Tools. She is a fitness and nutrition presenter at national conferences and her JZ Fitness Nutrition app is available on iTunes and Android.

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