No matter what your age or condition declining mobility and strength are reversible through resistence training, says personal trainer Ron Cain (Pixabay photo)

No matter what your age or condition declining mobility and strength are reversible through resistence training, says personal trainer Ron Cain (Pixabay photo)

RON CAIN: Building muscle is more important than cardio for older adults

No matter what your age, declining mobility and strength are reversible

Ron Cain | Contributed

Getting older has its challenges, and it’s all too common for people to have some mobility challenges that progress over time.

I have worked with clients as old as 93, and I have learned a few things:

1. – No matter what your age or condition declining mobility and strength are reversible.

2. – Older adults improve faster than young adults and can pack on muscle almost as quickly.

3. – Doing nothing and putting things down to old age will not help anyone.

4. – Most older adults are not eating enough protein or drinking enough fluids.

5. – Walking is the go-to exercise for seniors, and it’s great, but building muscle is more important than building cardio.

Muscle wasting, or sarcopenia, is a common malady that we associate with natural aging, but most of the loss is caused by having one’s butt stapled to a chair. Studies have shown that adults over 50 can and must build muscle tissue through resistance training to:

• Boost their metabolism to help with weight control.

• Improve balance because muscles keep joints stabilized, and stronger joints and support structures impact balance and movement.

• Increase bone density.

• Improve insulin regulation.

• Improve their short-term memory.

During the pandemic, many people are buying gym equipment and starting programs from home. With the development of what we call functional training, it is easy to train without buying expensive machines.

What is functional training? Think of the opposite of bodybuilding. Instead of isolating muscles and bombing them with high-volume workouts to create growth, functional training workouts use light weights, often just tubing, medicine balls, steps and bodyweight.

Additionally, function training focuses on moving several muscles together in more natural movements that mimic daily chores or fun things like picking up your grandchild and pressing them up over your head.

The result of correct functional training will not be big muscles but improved balance, weight loss, better coordination and movement, and perhaps the ability to do heavy landscaping or building that fence without having to take Tylenol after you’re done!


Ron Cain is a personal trainer with Sooke Mobile Personal Training. Email him at


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sandy Carmichael is a Goldstream Gazette 2021 Local Hero as Seniors’ Champion. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Worker bee returns to volunteer: Sandy Carmichael a fixture at Langford Royal Canadian Legion

Sandy Carmichael is the 2021 recipient of the Seniors’ Champion Award

West Shore Parks and Recreation facilities face a challenging future in terms of funding, due to reduced operations throughout the pandemic. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore Parks and Recreation faces challenging future

West Shore Parks and Recreation Society submits 2021 budget request to owner municipalities

The It’s Critical campaign has raised $5.89 million towards its $7 million goal to expand critical care capacity at Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital. (Black Press Media file photo)
Critical care improvements make the list with Greater Victoria shoppers

Save-On-Foods pledges $300,000 to Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s It’s Critical campaign

Approximately 100 people gathered in Centennial Square Saturday afternoon to listen to speakers decry COVID-19 restrictions. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Victoria residents protest masks, COVID-19 restrictions

Approximately 100 people gathered in Centennial Square Saturday afternoon

Saskatoon resident liajah Pidskalny poses with his bike near the University of Victoria after putting on thousands of kilometres to raise awareness of the overdose and mental health crisis. (Courtesy Iliajah Pidskalny)
Saskatoon cyclist winds up mental health and overdose awareness ride in Victoria

Iliajah Pidskalny braves prairie winter conditions to get word out to communities

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

Most Read