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  • Writer's pictureGregory D. Hamilton

Think You're Too Old for Strength Training?


You’re Never Too Old to Benefit from Strength Training

 

Here’s a gift from the world of science to anyone thinking about whether exercise and aging go together.

 

If you’re afraid to try strength training, or if you think you’re too old or too banged up or too fragile… well, think again.

 

A new study found that people in their 60s, 70s, and beyond can start lifting weights, quickly make significant improvements, and improve their strength, health, and mobility.

 

Moreover, the study found that weightlifting is good for people in their 80s and 90s.

 

The study was published in the journal Human Kinetics.

 

“It shows that healthy older people can certainly respond to resistance training, that their muscles are still plastic,” Tommy Lundberg, an exercise researcher at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, who was not involved in the study, told The Washington Post.

 

The research shows it’s never too late for older people to start lifting weights, he said: “They can increase both their muscle size and their strength.”

 

Old Misconceptions Die Hard

 

There are so many outdated misconceptions about aging and exercise that it’s hard to know where to start taking them apart.

 

This research is as good a starting point as any.

 

Part of the problem has been the lack of research into strength training and older adults. So, the scientists behind the new study decided to look at people in two age groups: those 65 to 75 and those at least 85.

 

The researchers put participants through workouts that are more intense than some might assume “older” people can handle. But the participants loved it, researchers said. There were only a few injuries and missed classes.

 

Those over 85 gained 11 percent muscle mass and 46 percent strength, compared to 10 percent muscle gain and 38 percent strength gain among those 65 to 75.

 

Mobility also improved among both groups, while the ability to, say, stand up from the toilet increased, too.

 

These are the kinds of functional abilities that strength training improves for everyone and keeps quality of life and independence high later in life.

 

Compare that to a frail, older person who can’t get up.

 

Which do you want to be – now or later?

 

Start at Any Age

 

Don’t take this news as an excuse to wait till you’re older to start exercising and strength training. The earlier you start, the greater your life will improve – and, obviously, for a longer time.

 

We’re seeing more people in their 30s and 40s starting to exercise with an eye toward the benefits it will bring them later in life. They know that we all lose muscle mass as we age, so it’s important to keep as much muscle as possible. Strength training:

 

·      Improves balance and bone density

·      Prevents falls and fractures

·      Improves sleep, mood, and mental health

·      Helps maintain a healthy weight and prevent diabetes

·      Keeps us looking, moving, and feeling better

 

Start putting this science (and common sense) to work for you! Strength training is essential, safe, and fun. Give me a call to get started.

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