Health & Fitness Benefits of Lifting Weights
I’ve heard the excuses many times before, particularly from retirees. “I’m too old to lift weights!” The truth is that lifting weights is just as important, if not more, as we age.
We already have plenty of evidence that weight training can help us to age well. By our early 40s, most of us are losing muscle mass, at a rate of about 5 percent a decade, with the decline often precipitating a long slide toward frailty and dependence.
We all probably know someone older, maybe a parent or grandparent, that has experienced a fall during retirement. Most commonly these falls are caused by losing balance, or due to loss of strength and coordination. Regardless, as we age, it is more important than ever to maintain our strength and balance to protect ourselves from injury.
Studies show that older people who lift weights can slow or reverse that common descent to frailty. In multiple experiments, older people who start to lift weights typically gain muscle mass and strength, as well as better mobility, mental sharpness and metabolic health.
But lifting helps only those who try it, and statistics indicate that barely 17 percent of older Americans regularly lift weights.
𝗙𝗢𝗨𝗥 𝗚𝗢𝗢𝗗 𝗥𝗘𝗔𝗦𝗢𝗡𝗦 𝗔𝗟𝗟 𝗣𝗘𝗢𝗣𝗟𝗘 𝗦𝗛𝗢𝗨𝗟𝗗 𝗕𝗘 𝗗𝗢𝗜𝗡𝗚 𝗦𝗧𝗥𝗘𝗡𝗚𝗧𝗛 𝗧𝗥𝗔𝗜𝗡𝗜𝗡𝗚
𝟭) 𝗠𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗮𝗶𝗻 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗜𝗻𝗰𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗲 𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗔𝗯𝗶𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝘁𝗼 𝗱𝗼 𝗡𝗼𝗿𝗺𝗮𝗹 𝗗𝗮𝗶𝗹𝘆 𝗔𝗰𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗲𝘀
If you engage in strength training activities as you age you will be able to keep up with doing all those things like daily chores, carrying the groceries, lifting the kids and grand kids and even things as simple as doing household chores. Even better, strength training allows us to continue doing all the things we love as we age, such as running, playing tennis, hiking, biking, or whatever other physical activities you most enjoy.
By not doing some form of active aging exercises you are at great risk of losing your independence in your retirement years so that alone is a good enough incentive to get started. Exercising NOW is vital in preventing serious health issues later on in your life.
𝟮) 𝗪𝗲 𝗹𝗼𝘀𝗲 𝗯𝗲𝘁𝘄𝗲𝗲𝗻 𝟯% 𝘁𝗼 𝟱% 𝗼𝗳 𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗺𝘂𝘀𝗰𝗹𝗲 𝗺𝗮𝘀𝘀 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆 𝗱𝗲𝗰𝗮𝗱𝗲 𝗮𝗳𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗿𝘁𝘆.
Muscle wasting, referred to as sarcopenia, is at work as we age so you need to have some healthy strength maintenance strategies in place and not let your body be overtaken by sarcopenia symptoms.
𝟯) 𝗦𝘁𝗿𝗲𝗻𝗴𝘁𝗵 𝗧𝗿𝗮𝗶𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗛𝗲𝗹𝗽𝘀 𝗥𝗲𝗱𝘂𝗰𝗲 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗥𝗶𝘀𝗸 𝗢𝗳 𝗛𝗶𝗴𝗵 𝗕𝗹𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗣𝗿𝗲𝘀𝘀𝘂𝗿𝗲
If you develop and keep up with a proper strength training routine you have a good chance of reducing your blood pressure back to a normal range, as strength training makes the heart stronger and forces it to pump blood more efficiently.
Lowering your blood pressure has a positive effect on many other areas of health too, including kidney health, memory and brain function, and circulatory function, just to name a few.
𝟰) 𝗔𝗻𝘁𝗶-𝗔𝗴𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗕𝗲𝗻𝗲𝗳𝗶𝘁𝘀 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗯𝗼𝘁𝗵 𝗠𝗲𝗻 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗪𝗼𝗺𝗲𝗻
Dr. Jonathan Bean, an associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School says the following about getting a start on growing stronger:
“Studies show that strength training for seniors and even over 40’s, not only can slow muscle loss, it can also help prevent or control conditions as varied as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and osteoporosis.”
And recent research indicates that it can also improve cognitive function, especially when added to aerobic exercise. As we age, strength training helps to preserve mobility and reduce the risk of falling.
“What has been shown is that if you’re looking at mobility problems, the most beneficial exercises are those that focus on progressive training for strength and power.”
And, how much muscle do you lose as you age? Check out the graph below. Amazing, isn’t it?
The good news is, you can maintain and even improve your physical condition with strength training and a few simple lifestyle changes. Just get a personal trainer to write you an appropriate exercise program and get started.
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