Should People Over 55 Be Weightlifting?

In Houston, TX, I see more and more people over 55 focusing on exercise and diet as a means of staying younger and more viable. While you might think they just run, ride bikes, or do less strenuous exercise, it’s not always true, nor should it be. Actually, weightlifting becomes more important the older you get for a number of reasons. Once past the age of 30, unless you maintain a fitness routine, people start to lose muscle mass. This tendency is called sarcopenia and is part of aging unless you take action to avoid it. Without a program of strength training, sarcopenia can cause a loss of three to five percent of muscle mass every ten years.

Strength training helps maintain muscle mass and can even build it, but that’s harder.

The older you get, the harder it becomes to get back into shape, but it is possible. Weightlifting, as you age, is more about maintaining strength, rather than bodybuilding. There are some famous senior bodybuilders and one in particular started later in life. Ernestine Shepherd, who was in the Guinness book of World Records for being the oldest female bodybuilder, didn’t start working out until she was 56. While most people won’t compete, one look at Ernestine, who is in her 80s, will tell you that not only does exercise and weightlifting keep you strong, it also keeps you looking young.

You can avoid the serious condition of osteoporosis.

Brittle bones and osteoporosis occur because of muscle loss. As the muscles tug on the bones, it causes the bones to absorb calcium to maintain strength. While it’s not just about calcium and vitamin D intake, you do still need a balanced diet, but what most people forget, is that you also need weight bearing exercise. Just like aerobic exercise strengthens the lungs, weightlifting and other strength-training helps build bone muscles and bones.

The difficult part is when you start from scratch.

If you’ve never been a person who worked out regularly, it’s going to take you a little longer. People who were in shape before will actually see results faster. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. The older you are, the lower your hormone levels that help build muscle tissue. You might not see the bulk, but you will see the difference in your strength and energy level. Seniors who do weightlifting and strength training, also live independently longer and have more energy in their senior years.

  • You can do everyday activities to maintain strength. Weightlifting might occur in the form of carrying grocery bags or lifting a grandchild or a pet. If you want a more formal program, you don’t need weights, fill bottles with water and use as barbells.
  • When you participate in a program of regular exercise, you reduce the risk of diabetes, reverse insulin resistance and normalize blood sugar levels. It can help osteoporosis, arthritis, depression and back pain.
  • Strength-training isn’t just about weightlifting. You can use resistance bands, create your own weights or use bodyweight exercises. It’s about putting stress on the muscles to help keep them strong.
  • You’ll have to work harder initially, since it takes longer to build muscle tissue. Take your time and don’t work beyond your capabilities, especially the older you are and more out of shape you are.

For more information, contact us today at Reggie C Fitness

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