By Rita La Rosa Loud, B.S.

Seniors are not the only ones who have an issue with losing their balance and falling. We all do. It is just that those over age 65 have a greater propensity towards it. These days, I am sorry to say, a larger percentage of Americans of all ages are less active. It is no wonder our muscles and bone structures have weakened, and posture and balance are compromised. The all-too-familiar hip-fracture due to a fall is a constant concern of the weak and frail. Instead, increasing the density of, for example hip bones with strength exercise, could prevent the inevitable. Essentially, a comprehensive program of basic strength, endurance, stretching, mobility and balance exercises for major muscles of the entire musculoskeletal system can aid in maintaining independence and quality of life as we grow older.

In a posture and balance study we conducted with seniors who strength trained their upper and lower body and core muscles on ten basic resistance machines significantly improved their balance measurements by 35 to 50 percent. They also got stronger and enhanced their posture. Thus, fall prevention is the product of improved posture, balance and strength. This is great news!

In a bone density study, our senior subjects who performed resistance exercise and ingested a protein shake, and supplemented with calcium, and Vitamin D, increased muscle as well as bone (measured by DEXA scan). Certainly, strong healthy bones of the hips, legs and spine can help to avoid and lessen injuries from a fall.

Senior subjects in both studies engaged in similar strength exercises, namely leg press, leg extension, leg curl, chest press, shoulder press, mid row, pull down, abdominal curl, low back extension, and neck flexion/extensions.

Young at Heart Member Profile
Hsuan DeLorme

Hsuan DeLorme, a longtime member of Quincy College’s group exercise program, strength trains twice weekly along with her husband, Stuart, with the goal of building up her strength.  On June 14, 2023, Hsuan underwent knee meniscus surgery.  Her physical therapist noted that Hsuan said,  “I was rather quick in recovery due to my many years of strength training, and I am so grateful for it.”

Strength training is effective for slowing down and reversing muscle loss, increasing muscle and bone, and strengthening the core muscles that stabilize the body. It is safe for older men and women, and frankly for individuals of all ages and conditions. When the musculoskeletal structures (muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones) are addressed with resistance (strength) exercise combined with balance movements and mobility training, you can look forward to better balance, coordination, posture and body alignment, and in all probability, experience fewer falls and minimize or prevent a serious injury.

Seniors! To partake in a free Balance Workshop (date tba), please call as we are taking names and numbers.
Strengthen the musculoskeletal system to build strong muscles and bones, improve and maintain balance and posture, plus gain confidence and independence in the Wayne Westcott, Ph.D. Center for Health and Fitness with a highly supervised strength, endurance, flexibility, group fitness program at Quincy College, President’s Place, 1250 Hancock Street. Book a tour, free session, or to register, call 617.405.5978. Free street parking is available, and a parking garage is next to the building.

Rita La Rosa Loud, B.S, Exercise Physiology and additional education in Sports Medicine and Athletic Training, is NASM Certified; has been actively involved in the fitness industry for over 35 years. An author she writes fitness related articles for various fitness publications. A Fitness Researcher, Directs the Wayne Westcott, Ph.D. Center for Health and Fitness at Quincy College. She can be reached on 617.405.5978.e