A recent article in the paper talked about a couple of senior women who were pumping iron for their health. One of these women recently competed in a national weightlifting competition, in the 65-69 age group. The other, 59, also competed in this national event. The older of the two lost about 80 pounds after getting into an exercise program that included strength training.
Strength training is important as you age, both to keep your mobility and to keep bones strong. It is also important for keeping your metabolism elevated and losing weight. Whether using weights, tubing, or just the weight of your own body as resistance, strength or resistance training is necessary to help fight anti-aging.
This is important for both men and women. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends strength training with weight-bearing and resistive exercise for all age groups. If you want to reduce your chances of falling or losing your mobility as you get older, you need proper strength. You definitely need to work on your mobility and flexibility to keep your muscles and joints from getting stiff.
Strength training is also important in staying lean. Your muscles burn calories all day long and can keep your metabolism from slowing down too much as you age. You will lose some muscle mass no matter what, but if nothing is done, you will lose more than necessary.
I remember seeing a report on aging a while back that featured a woman who was 101 years old. She exercised on a regular basis, including strength training. She was very mobile, independent, and energetic, still singing in her church choir. She led a busy life and appeared no older than 80. So is exercise and proper strength training a good way to fight the aging process? Maybe you should ask 92 year old fitness pioneer Jack LaLanne. The guy looks pretty healthy to me.
While the two women mentioned earlier were involved in weightlifting competitions, that isn’t necessary. Working your muscles against some form of resistance that challenges them is what’s important. That could be dumbbells or just your own bodyweight. It doesn’t require expensive equipment. Ideally, at least half of your training should occur in a standing position, because this is where movement occurs, on your feet. When standing, you work on your balance at the same time you build strength. Only working on machines where you lie or sit down takes away the balance aspect, which is important to avoiding falls, no matter what your age.
Strength training will make it easier to go up stairs, get up from a chair, or bend over and pick something up, things that give some seniors problems. Problems that can be avoided by most with just a little work on their part. Remember, the focus should be on prevention!.
Brian Morgan is a strength and conditioning specialist and massage therapist. For more information on posture, mobility and flexibility training, go to [http://www.brianmorganfitness.com]. or http://posture-n-motion.blogspot.com