Muscular Endurance is as important as Traditional Strength Training, Balance, and Flexibility.
Dr Andy Galpin, muscular endurance expert and Professor of Kinesiology at California State University, Fullerton, says, “Endurance is energy throughout the day without lulls in fatigue, the ability to maintain repeated effort in a muscle group, perform work at a high rate for a longer time, sustaining positional effort (good posture over time), and going for a longer period of time without fatigue.”
Muscular Endurance Definition: A muscle’s or a group of muscles’ ability to perform repetitive contractions against a force for an extended period is referred to as muscular Endurance. The more muscle stamina you have, the more reps you can do.
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How is muscular endurance assessed?
Sports, pushups, squats, planks, and circuit training are examples of muscular endurance.
Muscular Endurance training is exercising to improve the body’s capacity to withstand activity for long periods.
Daily activities like doing housework and bringing groceries require a lot of muscular endurance in seniors. Regular physical activity is a part of muscular endurance and aerobic capacity.
What is the difference between Muscular Endurance and Muscular Strength?
You can use your muscles for extended periods if you have muscular Endurance. Such games like badminton, football, and basketball need muscular Endurance. Regular muscular endurance activities involve long-term muscle use rather than excessive resistance. It involves upping your heart rate to a particular level.
Muscle strength lets you lift a heavy object in a single, assertive motion. So, developing solid muscles to lift heavy and continuous use is equally important.
Our ability to accomplish daily activities deteriorates as we get older. Frailty is characterized by reduced energy and resistance due to changes in many physiological systems and body composition, putting older people at a higher risk of disability.
Muscular Strength and endurance training are effective strategies for preventing and treating frailty syndrome by increasing strength, power output, and endurance performance. Frail older adults should be prescribed exercises, including muscle power training, endurance training, and resistance exercise training, to improve their overall physical performance and reduce functional limitations. Elderly individuals will experience increased functional capacity, increase in muscle, and reduced risk of falls.
Every week, indulging in 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity endurance activity (such as brisk walking or aerobic activity) can produce exciting results for our seniors. You can complete it in 30-minute sets, done 4 or 5 times weekly.
Importance of Muscular Endurance in Seniors
Why is muscular endurance important?
1. A Healthy Body
Seniors who engage in endurance training strengthen and improve their cardiorespiratory function. It improves their muscle function and general movement by providing more power to their muscles, cardiovascular systems, bones, joints, and lungs.
Their metabolisms rise as a result of increased lean muscle mass. Most crippling illnesses are often reduced by sustained exercise over long periods. Any age-related decline is reduced, too.
Improving muscular strength and Endurance slows bone density loss and loss of muscle as well. Bone density can increase in some instances if you are regular at both. Regular endurance training can also keep any heart disease at bay.
2. Enhanced Metabolism
With age, the metabolic processes slow down, causing us to become more prominent. As a result, our bodies can burn fewer total calories, which are stored as round bellies. With regular endurance exercises for seniors, muscle mass grows even at 60 and beyond. Increases in muscle mass burn more calories by making the acids needed to break down and expend the calories you eat. It results in increased physical functioning, too.
3. Clarity of Thought
Physical exercise like Endurance training has been shown to improve cognitive function. In older people, it helps to prevent Alzheimer’s disease to some degree. Improves blood circulation across the body and brain health, too.
4. Self Confidence
As one gets older, one’s body energy and, as a result, one’s self-esteem suffers. You can see the incredible benefits of regular endurance exercise in the body within weeks of training. Training for Seniors results in a much more conscious and awake body, increasing self-confidence. With fixed weekly sessions, a discipline develops, which is self-congratulatory and boosts self-esteem.
Endurance training allows the elderly to participate in previously thought impossible activities due to age. Your functional performance increases. Muscle aches and fatigue are regarded as preferable to pain and sickness. That emotion spreads to other areas of life, and a new consciousness level emerges at any age.
5. Enhanced Mindfulness
Functional performance tests prove that running is a lot less expensive than treatment. Exercise, according to psychologists, works as well as or better than antidepressants, and experiments back this up.
Depression is ubiquitous in senior citizens. Any muscular endurance activity has been shown to provide significant mental relief from pain and depression. Running, cycling, and swimming are all excellent relievers from life’s daily emotional stresses. With strength increases, there are marked increases in the emotional quotient, further slowing biological aging.
6. More Restful Sleep
Sleep deprivation is a significant problem in old age. A good night’s sleep and regular rest are essential for people of all ages. Elders in endurance training regularly sleep well and wake up more refreshed and energized. It also decreases self-perceived fatigue and increases overall body efficiency.
7. The Extended Youth
Human Growth Hormone production is increased by endurance exercise. HGH has been linked to a variety of health benefits, including anti-aging. All forms of exercise increase HGH, but muscular endurance training is particularly beneficial.
That’s why many veterans in their 60s are running marathons and gaining incredible times. They often appear and behave as if they are decades younger.
8. Loneliness Cure
Muscular endurance sports bring together retirees with similar interests for a short period. They inspire one another to learn from one another and form new friendships. Veterans who participate in endurance sports regularly are more social than those who do not exercise. Pushing themselves past physical limits makes them much more outgoing and friendly, and they form strong bonds.
9. Enhanced Immune System
Endurance training boosts the immune system of seniors and all age groups by increasing the production of white blood cells and antibodies by producing more proteins.
10. Control of Diabetes
Training boosts the body’s insulin sensitivity, making it easier to prevent and control diabetes. Our bodies store glucose in our muscles, and rising muscle mass allows us to store more glucose. It will help your body maintain a healthy glucose level.
Safety guidelines for elderly strength training
Warm up for ten minutes before the exercise program and cool down for at least ten minutes afterward.
The best endurance training can be walking, jogging, running, cycling, swimming, more so because you can go out and be more social at the same time.
The training intensity is not so important as being regular. Self can decide the intensity of training and training period in consultation with a physician.
If you do the exercise after a long time, you may experience some muscle soreness, which is ok. But if your joints hurt or you feel a muscle pull, then you should stop.
In exercises for muscular endurance, you have to do more repetitions with light weights and not otherwise. Start with very light weights or dumbbells until you’ve gotten used to them, and only then progress. Consistency is critical for optimal results. Doing it right the first time is crucial, so if you can hire a coach to help you, do so.
Instead of dumbbells, you can even use resistance bands or wrist weights.
Endurance Workouts for Seniors
Unlike Strength workouts, mainly weight training done in Gyms and with weights only, there are various endurance exercises.
Some athletes like Fauja Singh run even at the age of 100. There are hordes of senior citizens taking part in marathons worldwide. It is still only a tiny percentage.
Most lead a sedentary lifestyle after retirement, rarely leaving their homes even as they age. Too much rest is also bad for the body.
But most of the seniors, unless they are sick, can do the exercises mentioned here. Still, you should consult your doctor and have a proper check-up before you start.
Do not worry about the type of exercise or exercise performance. All that will improve once you start.
Walking: It is the most simple exercise. You can do it with your children, grandchildren, pets, friends, literally anybody. Even if you are alone, get out and start walking. You can make many a friend on the way. Start with a slow walk and over a short distance if you haven’t done it in a long time. The goal is to stay consistent over weeks, months, and years to come. It shouldn’t be the distance or the speed initially. You can have all those goals when you get used to it.
Jogging: Even if you start with 20 meters to jog or with a jog walk routine, it will be beneficial.
Running: Running is my favorite. Slightly faster than jogging. The feeling of the morning breeze against your cheeks sweat trickling down your forehead, those twilight hours are bliss once you get used to it. I can run for extended periods as I have got used to it.
Swimming: You are blessed in this heat if you can access a swimming pool. Just do not think for another moment. Jump in the pool even if you do not know about swimming. Am I crazy? Well, inform the lifeguards there to stay on the side where the water is shallow. You can do a lot of exercise in the pool without knowing about swimming. It is easier there as the gravitational pull is less.
There are also various others like pushups, dips, Squats, and resistance training. Resistance bands offer an excellent full-body exercise. Buy medium-strength resistance bands. You can work all your body parts with these. Once again, do not exert yourself much initially. Start with 3 to 5 repetitions, and you can increase the same over time.
Choose the type of training you like so that you look forward to that time of the day. Add rest periods to it once a week or a fortnight so you do not get bored doing the same activity repeatedly. Or you can add a strength training program twice a week to do both types of exercises.
It is somewhat better to regularly do all four exercises, i.e., Strength, Endurance, Balance, and flexibility.