Strength training is one of the most important age-defying and age-reversing action one can take. I hear it and see it every day at the studio. As women and men build strength, their step gets lighter, their outlook on life turns more positive, their energy levels soar, and they inevitably tell me that they feel younger. One of my clients (a 50+ year old male) exclaimed to me, “ I feel 21 again; I am that strong!” He may have used more colorful words than that; but there were definitely high fives happening at the training session.
It’s true. Strength training reverses the aging process! Or at least the effects of the process. Lifting weights two to three times a week at a level that challenges your body (aka – muscles burn and you sweat a lot!) will improve your body and your health on so many levels.
Strength training in your middle years keeps your muscles and bones strong.
Even if you are in your 50’s or 60’s and have never lifted a free weight in your life, beginning a strength training program will rebuild muscles and improve bone health. For women, lifting weights also means stopping or preventing osteopenia and osteoporosis.
In their book, Younger Next Year for Women, authors Chris Crowley and Henry Lodge advocate lifting weights twice a week for the rest of your life. Twice a week maintains strength; three times builds strength. They say three times a week is better than two. (They also wrote a similar book for men; same advice.) Now before you sigh and roll your eyes and think, “Pam, I am a busy person, there is no way I can lift weights three times a week,” hear me out.
Lifting weights can mean the difference between living an active life and shuffling along on the sidelines.
Lifting weights can mean the difference between living the active life you desire for yourself and shuffling along on the sidelines missing out on life. Another client (a 60+ year old woman) very eloquently told me how important being strong is to her – she equated it to the capability of remaining independent and capable as she aged.
Strength training improves and maintains the joint health.
At Strand Fitness, we joke about the “symphony” we bring along to our workouts – our joints seem to crunch and pop as we move. That’s the funny part. And we chuckle as we move through our exercises. The less funny part – we find it more difficult to get down onto the floor AND back up. No laughter then. Most of us tend to feel our age first in our joints! They aren’t as supple and moveable as they used to be. And they hurt sometimes with the gentlest of movements.
It really is, “You snooze you lose!” The less we move and the less we exercise, the more we lose our mobility. Lifting weights reverses that process.
All of the things that keep our bones attached to muscles and keep the joints moving with ease tend to get brittle when we get older, especially if we are not moving. That causes pain and stiffness. It really is, “You snooze you loose!” The less we move and the less we exercise, the more we lose our mobility. Lifting weights reverses that process. Our joints can become healthier, more mobile and less painful when we strength train. Yes, we can get onto the floor and back up with more ease!
Lifting weights and gaining strength improves balance and coordination.
Strength training can prevent falls. And if you do fall, the fall can be less disastrous. Strength training also improves balance and coordination. As we age, the mechanisms within the body that coordinate balance deteriorate (Another “joy” of aging – Not!). But lifting weights can restore virtually all of that function. So you want to stay upright as you age? Then hit the gym and lift those weights. Feel the burn in your muscles! And know you are exercising your mind as well!
Aging is inevitable; decay is optional!
Getting older can be a mind-numbing and out-of-body experience. For me, it started in my mid-40’s when my body just started to hurt… I turned to weight training. My aches and pains went away.
Getting older can be a mind-numbing and out-of-body experience. For me, it started in my mid-40’s when my body just started to hurt. That was one thing that pushed me to re-organize my life around my health and fitness. I turned to weight training. My aches and pains went away. I was memorized! I got in the best shape of my life. That was 14 years ago. And here I am still lifting weights. I know it is one of the most important things I do for my health and for my well-being.