Training for the elderly

When do you think you will stop lifting weights as part of your training? Maybe you don’t even lift in the first place or maybe you just haven’t given much thought to it. After all, there is no upper age limit on the gym. So why shouldn’t more senior people that train be encouraged to incorporate strength training into their workout routine?

As we get older it has become normal to be told about the things that you can’t do anymore. Almost like we are conducting a lifelong process of elimination until we simply run out of things to do once we are older. I will give you that it isn’t very common to see elderly people using free weights in the gym and they are typically more associated with aerobic exercises. But you shouldn’t conform to the exercise that other people of a similar age are seen doing if it isn’t what’s best for you.

And it just so happens that strength training is hugely beneficial for elderly people. We have to accept that some things are just a part of getting older. Advancing years take their toll on our joints, our muscles and our hearts, meaning that performing tasks that were relatively easy twenty years ago is completely different today. What that doesn’t mean is that you should sit back and let the effects of aging take hold.

Joint pain is increasingly common in elderly people and our more active lifestyles mean that even younger people are experiencing joint pain too. The result of that is that people don’t feel capable enough to participate in the exercise that they so desperately need. Regular exercise, including strength training, has been shown to reduce the pain caused by a number of skeletal conditions, in particular osteoporosis and arthritis.

Heart disease is globally one of the biggest killers out there. And while there might not be a specific cure, we know that adopting healthier lifestyle choices is a great way to combat it. That encompasses a whole number of things, including maintaining a sound diet, but especially it requires us to maintain regular exercise whatever our age.

While a healthy heart has long been associated with cardio work, strong muscles have been directly linked to strength training. Another one of those unfortunate truths about getting older is that you will naturally lose muscle mass. So lifting weights is a great way to combat this and also help to increase your bone density, which combats those skeletal problems I mentioned before.

The idea that age is just a number is more prevalent now than ever before. If you feel that physically you can still achieve what you were five, ten, fifteen years ago then obviously you should continue. But at the same time, doing a little less isn’t conceding defeat. All training is about finding that balance between pushing yourself without trying too much and risking serious injury.

And it doesn’t matter if you have worked out your whole life or never seen the inside of a gym before. I can guarantee you that if you experience the pains associated with getting older and you don’t exercise, then getting yourself down to a gym is going to help. Of course if you are considering a drastic lifestyle change a doctor should always be consulted.

So if you want to tackle something that has been bugging you for years or you just want to become a little more active, don’t let your age be the obstacle to your success.


Ollie Lawrence
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