Older Adults and Resistance Training

One important type of physical activity is resistance training (also known as strength training, weight training or weight lifting). This is any activity that uses your muscles and improves your strength.

Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re planning to do resistance training. Be sure to choose exercises that are right for your health, medical condition, fitness level, and fitness goals.

  • Activities for healthy, strong muscles and bones should be done at least twice a week. Rest for at least 2 days between sessions.
  • Do at least 8 to 10 exercises that include all the major muscle groups.
  • Each exercise should be done for 10 to 15 repetitions. Repetitions are the number of times you do an activity (for instance, lifting a weight 8 times).
  • Start with one set of each exercise. As you become stronger, do 2 sets. Rest for a minute between sets so your body has time to recover.
  • Exercises should be done with a somewhat hard effort (a Perceived Exertion rating of 12 to 13). When you’re finished, you should still have enough energy and strength left over to continue exercising if you wanted to. By starting with a light effort (a Perceived Exertion rating of 10 to 11), you give your body time to adapt to the new level of activity.
  • A full body activity session should take 20 to 30 minutes.

Last Reviewed: March 2017


©2017 Province of British Columbia. All rights reserved. May be reproduced in its entirety provided the source is acknowledged. This information is not meant to replace advice from your medical doctor or individual counselling with a health professional. It is intended for educational and informational purposes only.

Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

Thanks to our partners and endorsers: