Strength Training for Older Adults

I have been a Personal Trainer at the Yakima Athletic Club for almost 8 years and one of the questions I hear most often from those that are over 60 is:

Is strength training important at my age?

My answer every time is YES!! No matter your age, strength training is necessary. As you age, what changes is the goal of your strength training. The goal of strength training for older adults is not about lifting super heavy weight or bulking up, it is about making your day to day life easier, safer, and more enjoyable!

The research today is showing that as you age you start to lose 4-6 lbs. of muscle per decade! This loss of muscle tissue creates a chain reaction that I don’t want anybody to fall victim to:

Loss of muscle tissue –> Loss of strength –> Daily activities become difficult or impossible

The loss of muscle tissue will result in a loss in your strength. This loss in strength will more than likely lead to you having difficulty performing your typical daily activities; like getting out of a chair, getting on and off the floor, carrying your groceries into your house, playing with your grandchildren, and more! Strength training can help you maintain and improve your daily life.

If you haven’t been strength training or have noticed that your normal daily activities are harder to do, don’t worry, it is never too late to start a strength training routine. Older adults who follow a strength training program are able to regain the lost muscle tissue, see strength improvements, increase their bone density, become more stable, and change their quality of life. If you are unsure where to start, come in and meet with one of our Personal Trainers. They will guide you down the appropriate path and help you get started on your strength training journey.

One of my passions, as a Personal Trainer, is to see older adults continuing to be active and to make strides in improving their day to day life. I take pride in teaching Stronger Living, a strength training class just for older adults taught at the Yakima Athletic Club. There is nothing better than when one of my class members comes to me and tells me how class has helped them do something they didn’t know they could do, haven’t done in years, or are now able to do better. There have also been a number of instances where one of them has come to me and told me that they fell, which is a fear of many older adults, but they weren’t stuck on the ground, they were able to get themselves up! Here are a few testimonies from members of my Stronger Living Class:

“Exercise is important to me because it makes me better after my stroke and keeps me centered.” –Jackie

“Stronger Living keeps me moving, keeps me more energetic and has definitely made me stronger and I have lost 18 lbs. and dropped a pants size!” –Barbara

“I’ve always enjoyed exercising to keep healthy and keep in shape. I really enjoy class for strength and balance.” –Liz

“The class motivates me to be in shape and to be accountable. The comradery makes it enjoyable. It has saved me from falls.” – Donna

“I’m 83 years old and I’ve been coming to class for about 12 years. It makes me feel better and I have more energy. The other class members are fun and helpful.” – Mary

“I have always enjoyed exercise. I want to stay strong as I age and I love the accountability of class.” –Kristi

“I really only started exercising in 1999. I have been doing it ever since our class was moved to YAC. Now I am addicted. I feel so much better and the friends I have made is wonderful. I would totally recommend our class!” -Terry

Strength training is important at any age, but for older adults in is vital to being able to maintain the type of life you want to have! Don’t let where you are today dictate where you are tomorrow, it is never too late to work on improving your strength. Come in and let us help you become a stronger version of you! Always remember that each day is a gift, so make the most of it and celebrate what your body is capable of!


Jessica Wilcox, Assistant Fitness Director

ACE Certified Personal Trainer

Senior Fitness Specialty Certification

Fitness Nutrition Specialty Certification

Corrective Exercise Specialist