If flexing in front of the mirror or improving your push-up technique doesn’t matter to you, you may logically assume that lifting weights isn’t important. After all, why do you need to build muscle at your age? You may be surprised, but building muscle is even more important during later stages in life. Today, we’re looking at the importance of building muscle as we age and all the reasons you should start lifting weights immediately.
Should Senior Citizens Really Lift Weights?
Yes! The American College of Sports Medicine recommends weight training for those over 50. Studies have shown that folks well into their 90s can also benefit from strength training. Adding muscle works like a time machine, especially for frail seniors, by improving balance, speeding walking pace and making stairs less challenging.
Benefits of Weightlifting for Senior Citizens
The University of Vermont conducted a study of seniors ranging in age from 65 to 79. After twelve weeks of weight training, they were able to walk a distance almost 40% farther without rest. But why is this kind of endurance important? It’s a sign of sufficient leg strength, among other things, and insufficient leg strength can be a warning sign of disabilities to come.
There are more benefits to strength training than improved walking ability.
- Weight training improves strength, balance and agility, all of which help prevent injury from falls.
- It can boost bone mass in the spine and hips, an especially important consideration for those suffering with osteoporosis.
- Lifting weights can also offer relief from the pain of arthritis and improve your range of motion.
- It will speed up your metabolism and offer improved glucose control. In fact, one study of Hispanic men and women with diabetes showed improvements comparable to taking medication after 16 weeks of strength training. Participants in the study also lost body fat and increased muscle strength.
- Lifting weights can also help people sleep better and it may help improve depression.
The Best Way to Start Weight Lifting
After your doctor clears you to lift weights, it’s a good idea to start training with a professional. Even if you decide to work out on your own later, a certified personal trainer can create a strength training program just for you and show you appropriate technique to prevent injury. Consultations at Framework Personal Training are private and free, and we’d be happy to answer your questions.