Hi and welcome to ElderStrength.com, the site dedicated for providing strength training programs and information to seniors and the elderly! My name is Jukka and I’m the creator and owner of the site. If you need to reach out to me, you can contact me through the email admin [a] elderstrength.com.
My goal with this website is to help seniors find out how important and effective strength training is for health and longevity. Besides health, having a strong body equals freedom and independence as you get older.
For some strange reason, our society pushes this idea that you will automatically become weak and frail the day you turn 60, or even 50 and that you shouldn’t strain yourself or you’ll get hurt.
I’m here to tell that no, you are not weak and frail unless you choose to be and that you should definitely strain yourself from time to time to AVOID getting hurt by accidents and activities.
This is because strength training makes your body stronger on every level. From your cells to your bone health. It will improve your metabolism, mobility, strength, and vigor. Quite simply, being strong makes life a lot easier, especially when you’re old.
This might come as a bit of shock to you, but I’m not exactly senior myself. I’m in my thirties, closing in on 40. I’m also not a certified personal trainer or a fitness instructor. In fact, I’m an engineer by profession.
I want to share this with you honestly so that you can make your own mind about the content on my site. After all, it’s always good to be skeptical about stuff you read on the internet. I want you to trust my content because it’s useful and correct, not because I claim to possess some credentials you have no way of verifying.
So why am I writing about strength training for seniors, even though I’m not a senior or even a trainer myself? Because I think seniors are the group that would benefit the most health-wise from strength training.
You see, I’m a science geek and I’m immensely interested in human physiology, health, and aging. I’ve also been strength training myself for over a decade. Before I started, I wasn’t aware of how much strength training could change my health and the performance of my body.
Even though I’m not a senior, I’m not exactly young either, when it comes to biology. Aging starts to affect your body before you hit 30. Many people have had the experience where their metabolism is high in their twenties and they can seem to eat anything and stay thin. But at around 35 they realize their pants don’t fit anymore even though they seemingly changed nothing.
The fat starts to accumulate, you become less limber, aches and pains become more common, fatigue sets in. Maybe you run out of breath while walking the stairs. Whatever your individual symptoms are, if you haven’t been taken care of your body you first start to notice the effects around 30 or 40.
By 50 they can have severely debilitating effects on your health like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. If you don’t make the decision to take care of your body, by the time you hit 60 or 70 you will be weak, sick, and lucky to be alive.
I was never athletically gifted as a child so I wasn’t really motivated to exercise or participate in sports. I was weak, slow, and uncoordinated. Quite frankly I sucked at almost every sport. Fortunately, I loved biking and swimming so I accumulated some level of fitness during my youth.
I my twenties I was living an unsustainable way of life. My diet consisted mainly of pizzas and hamburgers, I drank a lot of beer and ate a lot of candy. I also smoked. I was fat, weak and out of shape. I was suffering from insomnia, gut problems and anxiety.
One day a college buddy suggested I’d join him in the gym. I took him up on the offer and have pretty much stuck to it for over a decade now. At first I didn’t really know what I was doing and it took a lot of trial and error to get the whole process working perfectly.
At some point, I stumbled upon the program Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe. I didn’t buy the book, I just read about it online and decided to try it out. The program involved squatting three times a week with alternating pressing and pulling movements every day as well.
Once I had the exercise techniques honed in a bit, I started to do the Starting Strength program. Besides the movements, it involves increasing the load of every workout. This forces your body to adapt to the training stimulus over time.
For the stress-recovery-adaptation-cycle to take place, you have to have adequate recovery. Unfortunately, I was lacking in recovery. I was trying to lose weight even though it’s very clearly stated in the book that you have to eat a lot and increase body weight for the program to function.
I was also suffering from insomnia. Sleep is just as important as food for recovery so no surprise I stalled pretty quickly. I managed to gain quite a bit of strength but nothing near what the average user of the program achieves. I ended up overtrained, fatigued, and with overuse injuries in my shoulder and hip. So I forgot the program for a while.
After a while, I decided to give Starting Strength another try. This time I made sure I ate enough and I had managed to almost cure my insomnia during the past few years.
What do ya know, the stuff works! I managed to bring my squat, deadlift, and press to respectable numbers. My athletic performance improved vastly as did my body composition. I weighed the same when I started strength training but I had lost my gut. All the fat had transformed into muscle. Success!
But I felt stupid. Really stupid. I could have just learned this stuff the right way from the get-go but instead, I wasted a lot of time and injured my body a couple of times while doing it.
The reason I’m telling you this is because I want you to avoid these mistakes and I want you to know that I’m a real person who has actually gone through the trouble of learning strength training through trial and error.
Without my prior failures, I wouldn’t be able to grasp how important every single piece of the stress-recovery-adaptation cycle is.
At first, I lacked proper stress because my technique was off. This ended in injury. I want you to avoid this.
The second time around the stress was there, I just lacked the recovery. Hence, no adaptation could take effect, and I ended up injured once again. I want you to avoid this.
The third time I got everything in check. The stress was there, I managed to recover from it and my body adapted by becoming stronger and building muscle. I want you to succeed in this as well!
I have since learned a lot and continued with barbell training. Barbell training is a good option for seniors that are otherwise healthy, but it’s not the only way to get stronger and reap the benefits of strength training. The important thing is to get every point in the stress-recovery-adaptation cycle in check.
Why I want to help people out?
Like I said, I’m a science geek and love reading about health, physiology and longevity. This stuff is a passion to me. I also work in a field that is associated with measuring population growth and I know that in most western countries the average age is getting really high.
In short, we have a lot of seniors now and we will have a whole bunch more in the coming decades. This is of course troublesome for public health because with age comes sickness. If there’s anything I can do to help the situation, I will, and that’s why I created this website.
I’ve been working in an office environment for the better part of a decade, on a field that has a lot of older employees. I’ve taken notice how much physical fitness seems to affect how healthy and honestly, old, people look like.
There are a lot of people in their 50s and 60s on our field and I can tell right away just by looking at them which ones have been active and exercised a lot. The people who have been active either through exercise or manual labor have good posture, walk effortlessly, aren’t significantly overweight, and just generally seem healthier and happier.
The people who have neglected physical fitness have bad posture, back pains, can’t walk fast or even squat to tie a shoelace without taking support from something.
I also noticed that some older guys and gals in the gym were very fit and strong, even in their 60s and 70s. I thought this wasn’t possible because old people are often portrayed as weak and frail by media.
When I realized this, I had an epiphany. I want to tell as many people as possible that you can seemingly prevent aging from a physical performance point of view by simply doing regular strength training!
When I realized this, I also realized I need to shift my own training goals towards longevity instead of maximal strength or muscular physique. Those are a young man’s game and they are not worth pursuing in the long run.
It’s more important to train smartly and hard enough to improve and maintain strength without getting injuries. This is what I want to teach you as well.
The Goal of Elder Strength
The purpose of this site is to spread the word on the benefits of strength training for older people. The goal is that everything presented on this site will be backed up by science and firsthand experience.
I want older people to acknowledge that they are not weak and that they don’t have to just hopelessly observe as their aging bodies deteriorate.
I want older people to become stronger and healthier. I want to achieve this by providing the best, evidence-based workout programs and training principles as well as equipment.
I envision a world where being 80 means you’re just a bit slower than you were in your youth but that’s it. You can carry your own groceries, go for a three-day hike, or build a house if you want to. Without being dependent on other people.
Thank you for reading this far. The next decision is up to you. Do you want to become a stronger version of yourself? If so, Start here.
If you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.
All the best,
22 thoughts on “About Elder Strength”
How do I contact you directly to talk?
Hi Dan! I,ve replied to the two email addresses you left. You can also contact me me through the email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Please tell me what is the composition of Therabands. Are they free of phthlates? Free of BPA? Free of BPS?
Hi Aaron! As far as I can tell, the original Therabands are made out if latex and should be free of xenoestrogens. That said, there are a lot of theraband products abd copies out there so I’m afraid you are going to have to contact the manufacturer to make sure so don’t hold my word for it.
great site , full of imformation.
Thanks Duane! Glad you’ve found it useful.
I enjoyed your article. How do I sign up for your newsletter or have your posts sent to my email? Thanks, Jan
Hi Jan! It just occured to me that I have no dedicated page for joining my newsletter, better create one! For now, you can join at the end of this post for example: http://elderstrength.com/free-weight-training-routine-for-seniors/
Can you tell me where I can purchase the soft stopover objects shown in the balance stopover video.
Can you tell me where I can purchase the soft stepover objects shown in the balance stepover video
Can you tell me where I can purchase the soft stepover objects demonstrated in your stepover video.
Hi David! I’m sorry I’m not sure which video or article you mean, I’ll try and find it out for you. Most videos are embedded YouTube videos with a link to the original video. They are not owned in any way or form by ElderStrength so you can contact the video owners through YouTube.
Thank you for caring about the older population even though you are still a young man. They’re not too many young people who care about the elderly let alone write a very detailed and informative article to help older adults achieve their health goals. I am 60 and I have been extremely active. I weight train, and roller skate. I enjoy it tremendously and plan to continue as long as I am granted health and strength. There is much discrimination against aging and the aged. That is why our elders must start taking better care of themselves. Much blessings to you and continue the great work.
Thank you for your kind words Donna! I have many senior colleagues that have become close friends and at my age, the previous generation of my close family are all seniors. I’ve witnessed how a family member closing in on 70 turned a pre-diabetic metabolic disorder around with a simple exercise routine and diet. At work I’ve seen what’s the difference between a 60-year-old amature athlete and someone who’s been sedentary for 50 years. The athlete looks 20 years younger than their age and has more energy than most people in their thirties. Great to hear you have kept your fitness up as you’ve aged! That’s what I plan to do as well. Oh and I want to be perfectly clear that I don’t have any intention or desire to condemn sedentary people. People have health conditions and life stories that affect their ability and motivation to exercise. In the end, it’s everyone’s own right to decide what they do with their body and life.
Hmmmm Well for me this introduction will get me to look into the Website. I’m 86 and have become nearly confined to my home because of weak legs and imbalance problems. I’ve always been bored doing gym type exercises, so I hope that, somewhere on this website, I’ll learn how to get out of my comfortable recliner and do something that will rejuvenate my body. I think I’d be a lot happier, if once again walking without fear of falling and having EMTs from the ambulance help me up off the ground becomes my new normal. Since I have few other health problems, it is stupid to live the way I’m living now. Hopefully, anything further I have to say will be about success.
Thanks for taking the time to comment Donald! Sorry to hear about your balance problems and leg weakness. I’m glad you found some motivation from my ramblings! Exercise can improve your health significantly at any age but it’s important to keep in mind that at your age it’s wise to plan your exercise routine with medical professionals. I’m looking forward to hearing about your success!
I am a 77 year old female.
4 foot 8 and 120 pounds.
I am currently deadlifting at 185 pounds
never too late
That’s some respectable iron for anyone Joan! But considering your size, sex and age that’s phenomenal! Do you compete in powerlifting?
Thanks for your very useful and informative information. I’ll be 76 in a few weeks and ran a half marathon yesterday. The time wasn’t great by my standards, but I did finish 1st in my age group. I’m a careful runner and try to be sensible in my training, but with a slower time yesterday (2:07) – about ten minutes longer than I wanted, I was tempted to go out for a run today. Not sure I actually did enough longer runs prior to the half, so it might be that was the problem. After reading your articles, I realized it would be better to take a recovery day to get stronger. Any training tips you can recommend for a dedicated older half marathon runner. Wishing you the best!
Thank you for the kind words Gerald! I’m glad you’ve found the content useful. To be honest, you are running at a level where it’s hard for me to give you any beneficial advice. I’ve never really been into long distance running myself but from what I understand, that is still a very respectable half-marathon time for your age group. Here are a couple of things that come to mind:
Adding some strength training into your routine is virtually always beneficial. Stronger muscles and connective tissue help prevent overuse injuries. Stronger muscles can also improve your running posture and gait. If you aren’t doing any strength training currently, bodyweight squats and lunges are a good start. They are virtually all you need to keep your legs strong, healthy, and mobile. If you are serious about improving your athletic ability, some gym work with the leg press and barbells might be an option as well. But they require more knowledge about programming to work with running at your age as higher intensity strength training comes at a recovery cost.
If you are serious about competition, you might consider finding a coach that has experience with senior runners. A well-thought-out individual program from a professional can usually beat out anything you can come up on your own. If you are just running recreationnaly and to stay healthy, definitely keep health and recovery as the top priority.
P.S. I love hearing from my readers. It’s great to see stories like yours. They prove that it’s possible to stay fit as you age and can be a great inspiration to other people. So I thank you for taking the time to comment. Keep up the good work and good luck with the training!
Thank you for your blog! I research online a lot because I’m a health and physiology freak, too. Reading your blog makes me feel like I have a friend out there who understands what elders are going through with all the complexities of aging. What’s normal? What’s not? And time is flying by, it seems. I am 72 and have many health concerns, although I try to stay informed and maintain control over the things I can do myself. I must admit I’ve been hard on my body in my younger days, and recently I’ve been paying the price for past injuries to muscles and bones and connective tissues. I need support like what you offer so that I don’t have to feel all alone in my struggles to maintain strength and wellness in order to stay active and functioning until the day I die. I have just stumbled upon your site this morning, so I will peruse it more fully, but I wanted to thank you in advance for all your help and caring.
Thank you for your kind words Sharon! Your feedback really means much to me. It’s hard to know what readers think about your content so feedback is always welcome. And I’m glad to hear you’ve found my website useful. Yeah, I know that life can get in the way of exercising and keeping healthy. People have obligations, medical conditions, stress and simply lack of time and energy. It’s often not just as simple as “just exercise more”. If it was that easy, everyone would be in shape. But I think the most important thing I’ve learned and try to preach is that any amount of exercise is better than none. Let’s say you’ve had a busy day, zero exercise and it’s time to go to bed. Not time to exercise anymore right? Well I would encourage you to do 5 squats in that situation. Over a year that’s 1825 squats if you do it every night. Ok, I started rambling again. Thanks for the feedback and welcome to the site Sharon, and good luck with the training 🙂