How to lift weights when you get older

One of the most intimidating factors in the weight room is the potential of injuring yourself, especially if you have never lifted weights before.  

Add in the “high intensity” mantra – go hard and heavy – that seems to be prevalent in our fitness culture, and I can see why many people avoid the gym at all costs. Heck, I even get intimidated looking in on some of the fitness studios and workout studios that are popular today.  

Staying strong, fit, and healthy with a “slightly older” body is one of the reasons I opened my personal training studio (Stand Fitness in Downtown Wheaton, IL).  (Check us out by visiting our website: http://strandfitnessllc.com/) As I aged, I started experiencing many aches and pains trying to keep up with the younger crowd.  And I noticed that I was losing my motivation to work hard – was I getting lazy in my old age?

The counsel I received was to “do less,” which did not sit with the competitive spirit I had.  Like many “slightly older” people, I still have a performance mindset.  I want to do well and be challenged to improve.  And I want to take this mindset to the workout floor with me.  Doing less just seemed, honestly, like a cop out.  I knew my body did not want to work out the way I was.  But I did not believe the answer was “less.”  The answer had to be “different.”  

So started my journey to open my personal training studio for “slightly older” bodies, where I have being working to define what working out “different” really means.  (By the way, if you don’t feel as young as you used to, then you are “slightly older!”)  In other words, how do you lift weights when you get older.  Here are two important things to know.  

Lifting heavy is not necessarily the goal or the requirement; feeling and being strong is!

I used to think “heavier is better.”  And then when my body started to hurt, I re-evaluated that mantra (maybe a little too slowly for my back, hips, and knees).  It took a lot of convincing and encouragement from my personal trainer (yup, I train with one!), but I eventually shifted my mindset to focusing on how I felt versus how much I lifted.  The measure of effort came from my body not from the actual weight I was lifting.

I think this is key as we get older.  Partly because the mindset will keep us from doing silly things and help to prevent injuries.  And partly because it is the strength that will carry us forward in life.  It doesn’t matter how much weight we lift.  It matters that we lift weight, consistently, and challenge our bodies so they will be strong.

I barely pay attention to the amount of weight I am lifting (I leave that up to my trainer), but I do pay attention to how strong I feel. When I can feel my body getting stronger, I am motivated to keep going.  I like how it feels to be strong.

Being concerned about injury is legit; just don’t let it scare you away!

Lifting weights can be a very safe endeavor.  All exercise poses risk of injury.  But working with a professional, like a personal trainer, is the best way to ensure you prevent injury.  If you are considering hiring a personal trainer, be sure that trainer knows how to work with a slightly older body.  You are looking for someone who pays meticulous attention to technique and for someone who knows how to select the appropriate exercise and program design for you and your body.   

Find a trainer who communicates well – asks you lots of questions, spends time getting to know you and how your body moves, and is open to feedback from you.  Keeping the lines of communication open with your trainer helps keep you safe and injury-free.  Don’t just do what the trainer tells you to do.  If it doesn’t feel right, say so.  That feedback is critical to the success of the program your trainer puts together for you.

I never thought I would find an exercise that I didn’t like.  But I do now.  And I have learned to voice that to my trainers.  It took listening to my body rather than just my mind (aka ego). And it took working with trainers who really want to develop a program that makes the most sense for my body.  Working with this caliber of trainer is key to sustaining my strength and my injury-free workouts.

To Your Strength!

At Strand Fitness, you work with personal trainers who understand the challenges of lifting weights with a “slightly older” body.

You will develop strength safely with a program designed specifically for you!  Contact Pam (630-653-8152 or pstrand@strandfitnessllc.com) to schedule your complimentary, no-obligation fitness consultation.

To learn more about strength training with us, please visit our website (http://strandfitnessllc.com/strength-training/)

Strand Fitness is a personal training studio in Downtown Wheaton, serving Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, Carol Stream, Winfield & Chicago Western Suburbs.

About Pam Strand

Pam Strand is the owner of Strand Fitness, a personal training studio in Downtown Wheaton, serving Glen Ellyn, Carol Stream, Winfield, & Chicago Western Suburbs. To learn more about how Strand Fitness can help you reach your fitness goals, contact Pam (630 653 8152) and schedule your free fitness consultation. You can also learn more about our fitness solutions here: http://strandfitnessllc.com/fitness-solutions/

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