The Fountain of Youth: Strength Training

How strength training can benefit people as they age and why it’s never too late to start
By: Marley Carviou, CSCS, Rierson Fitness Personal Trainer

Most of the time people will pick up a new workout routine in hopes of losing a few pounds or adding more muscle definition to their body. There is never a bad reason to start strength training, but many times people forget about the changes that are not as obvious on the outside. Improvements to bone health, stress reduction effects and cognitive benefits from strength training are beneficial for all, but especially for those noticing more problems arise with age. Marley has gathered the most up-to-date data from the National Strength and Conditioning Association to showcase how important it is that you start strength training now when time is on your side!

Bone Health

Arguably one of the most beneficial changes your body will undergo from proper strength training is the increase in bone density and bone mass. It may not seem like your bones and skeleton do much, but your bones are an important part of your body because of the minerals they store, the main one being calcium. When bones lose those minerals, osteoporosis occurs and that is when we experience brittle bones that are more prone to injuries and breaks.

Classes like yoga and pilates are great to add to your routine if you enjoy them, but strength training is the only way you will benefit from increased bone density because bone tissue is significantly influenced by strain. The strain from weights stimulates bone formation, making them more resilient. This is what will decrease the risk of osteoporosis, fractures and falls later in life. 

Stress Reduction Effects and Cognitive Benefits

You may have noticed after starting a workout in a bad mood, you find yourself leaving the gym after your workout feeling more energized and happier. This is not by accident! Over thirty years of literature has shown consistent reductions in anxiety from physical activity. Many workout routines are rhythmic and that consistency allows you to “turn your brain off” while performing a resistance training workout. Our serotonin levels are elevated both during and after exercise and research has shown that dopamine is maintained through physical activity. Those who perform a consistent routine that includes weights, flexibility and aerobic endurance training have seen improvements in both clinical and nonclinical depression and anxiety.

Our cognition, which consists of our memory, analytical thinking, focus and decision making, can decline with age. Studies have shown that those in older age groups, 55 years and older, see less of that decline when taking part in a routine that emphasizes physical activity. Sedentary individuals had a much slower reaction time in one study, and some cognition test show that those who stay physically active can perform similar to a group of young college-aged men in addition to outperforming sedentary men.    

Where to Start

So now that you know the benefits, what does strength training even mean? Resistance training, or strength training, is when load is applied to muscles consistently over time to improve muscular strength and endurance. As mentioned earlier, we want to use weight to load the muscle tissue to increase muscle and bone adaptations. You can do this by using free weights like a barbell, dumbbells, or kettlebells, or through the use of machines. One isn’t necessarily better than the other, the decision of what equipment to use is made on a case-by-case basis and what you have available. Bodyweight exercises are a good place for a beginner to start, but you need to make sure you are progressing to reap the benefits that are mentioned earlier. Your body is resilient and will adapt if you continue to challenge it over time! If you are still unsure where to start, send us a message and one of our personal trainers can help answer your questions and get you on the right track!


The benefits from strength training are truly endless, and the best time to start was yesterday. Longevity can be found for those that establish a consistent strength training routine and do so now before they start to see age related injuries arise. Strength training not only helps you reach your aesthetic goals, but will also increase bone density and improve mood and cognition over time. If you have more questions on the above information or are ready to get started on your fitness journey, you can send us an email at or give us a call at 319-290-6319. At Rierson Fitness, we have experience working with all levels and are ready to help you on your journey no matter where you are starting from!


And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook at and Instagram @riersonfitnesss. 

On June 17, 2024 this entry was posted in Health and Fitness by Jeff Rierson.