Part of the normal aging process includes losing muscle mass. This combined with lower levels of activity and hormone changes causes us to gain weight as they age. However, the more you are able to maintain a solid base of muscle mass, the higher your metabolism will be and you will burn more calories even at rest. By lifting moderately heavy weights, a weight that you can only lift 8-10 times, you can see some amazing changes in your body, and you will find yourself feeling younger!
Some of the many benefits of weight lifting include1:
- Developing stronger bones – Strength training increases bone density and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
- Controlling your weight – As you gain muscle, your body gains a bigger “engine” to burn calories more efficiently — which can result in weight loss. The more toned your muscles, the easier it is to control your weight.
- Reducing your risk of injury – Building muscle helps protect your joints from injury. It also contributes to better balance, which can help you maintain independence as you age.
- Boosting your stamina – As you get stronger, you won’t fatigue as easily.
- Managing chronic conditions – Strength training can reduce the signs and symptoms of many chronic conditions, including arthritis, back pain, depression, diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis.
- Sharpening your focus – Some research suggests that regular strength training helps improve attention for older adults.
As with any workout make sure to warm up first, 5-10 minutes of light full body cardio, such as jogging or elliptical training, should do the trick. There are many different ways to add weight training to your exercise routine. Varieties of weight training include1:
- Body weight – You can do many exercises with little or no equipment. Try push-ups, pull-ups, abdominal crunches and leg squats.
- Resistance tubing – Resistance tubing is inexpensive, lightweight tubing that provides resistance when stretched. You can choose from many types of resistance tubes in nearly any sporting goods store.
- Free weights – Barbells and dumbbells are classic strength training tools.
- Weight machines – Most fitness centers offer various resistance machines. You can also invest in weight machines for use at home.
Remember that weight training is your friend and if you stick with it you will see results many different facets of your health. If you are new to weight training start out easy and work your way up to help avoid injury, and as always, consult with your physician before starting a new exercise routine. Have fun and get stronger!
Contributors: Kim Farmer and Michelle Beachem of Mile High Fitness. Mile High Fitness offers in-home personal training and corporate fitness solutions. Visit www.milehighfitness.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org