Now that you have got older, you may not spend much time flexing your biceps in front
of the mirror or trying to add extra inches to your muscles. So why even do weight lifting? The truth is that building your muscles is more
important than it ever was at this stage as you get older. Muscles naturally weaken with
age, and this weakness can eventually rob older people of their active,
independent lifestyles. There is a way, and fortunately, you can reverse that issue with a
few simple exercises. It’s safe, it’s very effective, and as they say it’s never too late
to start. You may actually enjoy it!
So Then, Should seniors Be lifting weights?
The American College of Sports Medicine now recommends weight
training for all people over the age of 50, and even people well into their 90s can and do
benefit , unbelievable but so true. A group of nursing home residents ranging in age from 87 to 96
improved their muscle strength by almost 180 percent after just eight
weeks of weightlifting, which also commonly known as strength training. Adding that
much strength is almost like rolling back time. Even frail elderly
people find their balance actually improves, their walking pace quickens, and
stairs become less of a challenge for them.
Among these elders is Sara, 91, who had a lot of trouble walking
after healing from a serious hip fracture. But after starting a
weight-lifting program in which she practiced either leg presses or leg
curls three times a week, she was able to walk a quarter of a mile
without assistance and pedal a stationary bike.
“I feel better physically and mentally; I feel wonderful inside and
out,” Sara told the authors of the book Successful Aging (Dell, 1999).
“I must go for that exercise three times a week, I must. You have to
What Will Be the benefits of weightlifting for seniors?
Improved walking ability. A University of Vermont study of healthy
seniors ages 65 to 79 found that subjects could walk almost 40 percent
farther without a rest after 12 weeks of weight training. This endurance
can come in handy for your next shopping trip, but there’s an even
better reason to spruce up your walk. Among seniors, insufficient leg
strength is a powerful predictor of future disabilities, including the
inability to walk. An 89-year-old senior interviewed in Successful Aging
said that after two years of weightlifting, “I walk straight instead of
shuffling. It gives me lots of energy. My family can’t believe it.”
You must Ease into performing day-to-day tasks. By gradually giving you the strength to
handle your daily routines, weightlifting can and will help you maintain your
independence. Researchers at the University of Alabama found that
healthy women ages 60 to 77 who lifted weights three hours each week for
16 weeks could carry groceries and get up from a chair with much less
effort than before.
The prevention of broken bones. Weightlifting can protect you from awful fractures in several ways. Firstly, the exercises increase your
strength, balance, and agility, making it less likely that you’ll
suffer a terrible fall. A study at Tufts University found that older women
who lifted weights for a year improved their balance by 14 percent. (A
control group composed of women who didn’t lift weights suffered a 9
percent decline in balance in the same year.) Weight training will also
build bone mass in the spine and the hips, so it’s especially important
for people with the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis.
Relief from debilitating arthritis pain. By strengthening the muscles, tendons,
and ligaments around your joints, weightlifting can dramatically improve
your full range of motion. It can cut down on the pain by strengthening and increasing the
capability of muscles surrounding the afflicted joint, which eases
stress on the joint itself. Arthritis sufferers should begin by using very
light weights and work up to heavier weights very gradually.
Weight loss. Lifting weights doesn’t burn that many calories, but it will
rev up your metabolism. Overweight older seniors who combine strength training
with a healthy diet will almost certainly shed a few pounds off. Extra Whey protein is also important
for renewing broken down muscle tissue after training.
Improved glucose control. If you are among the millions of Americans
with Type 2 diabetes, strength training will help you keep it under
control. In one study of Hispanic men and women with diabetes, 16 weeks
of strength training provided dramatic improvements, comparable to
taking medication. The study also showed that volunteers increased
muscle strength, lost body fat, and gained more self-confidence.
Other benefits. Studies suggest weight training can help people sleep better and even ease mild to moderate depression.
So How Do I Make A Start?
Important ,you should always check with your doctor before starting any new
exercise program — and when you do, expect your doctor to be supportive of what you want to achieve. If you have hypertension, your doctor may want to
run a few tests just to make sure lifting weights won’t cause a dangerous
rise in your blood pressure. Fortunately, almost all people with high
blood pressure can safely enjoy the benefits of strength training.
Once you get the doctor’s ok to go-ahead, you will choose your setting and
your equipment. You can join a gym or a university exercise program
that offers exercise machines, professional guidance, and lots of
socializing, or you can purchase for example a home gym machine with which you can also get an excellent workout at home plus using
barbells or dumbells. If required get advice from a physical trainer before you begin:
Instruction on proper technique is very important to help you enjoy the
exercise without risking injury.