Am I Too Old to Start Lifting Weights?
Edith Wilma Connor holds the Guinness World Record for oldest female weightlifter. She’s 77. What’s more, she didn’t start strength training until she was in her 60s. She had a stressful desk job and was looking for a good way to release tension.
Energy levels gradually decrease as we grow older. As a result, most middle-aged individuals and beyond assume that it’s too late to get into weight lifting. That, however, could not be further from the truth!
Not only is it never too late to start lifting weights, but weight training actually becomes more crucial as you age. This is because if done often enough, weight lifting can help reverse or at the very least slow down the loss of muscle mass and bone density that occurs naturally with age.
What’s more, weight lifting offers a host of other important benefits for older individuals ranging from a boost in strength to increased flexibility and balance to improved health to reduced risk of falls and more. So, if you’re a middle-aged individual or older, you should seriously consider making weight lifting a part of your exercise routine.
To ensure you get started on the right foot, here are a few pointers on the best and safest way for senior adults to start lifting weights.
Get Your Doctor’s Consent
It is always important to check with your doctor before starting a new workout program – more so if you are in the later years of your adulthood. A doctor will be able to determine if you can lift weights regularly without putting your health at risk.
Consult with a Trainer
While weight lifting is a great workout option for those advanced in age, it can be dangerous if done using the wrong approach. For this reason, it is highly important that you consult with a trainer before jumping into weight training. A trainer will be able to take you through all the various intricacies (i.e. proper form and technique, ideal rest times, complementary warm up routines, suitable diet, and so on) that make up a safe and effective weight lifting workout. A trainer can also help you develop a personalized workout plan based on your unique fitness level and overall health.
Since weight training is a highly intense physical activity, taking on too much too soon will more than likely lead to injury regardless of your age. The risk for injury is however higher for those who are more advanced in age. So, it is essential to start slow and increase workout intensity as strength and fitness improves. The trick here is to start with a weight that provides a challenging but comfortable workout and then gradually increase weights as the body grows accustomed to the currently used weights.
As with any form of exercise, regular workouts are mandatory to ensuring you get to experience whatever results you are going for. However, since older individuals have a slower recovery rate than their younger counterparts, more rest is required in between workout sessions. This therefore creates the need for striking the perfect balance between ensuring effectiveness and proper recovery. According to most fitness experts, 2 to 3 times a week should be enough to keep workouts safe and effective for the much older individuals lifting weights.
Age is not a factor when it comes to weight lifting as literally anyone (even those as old as 90) can reap the benefits of weight training. All that is required is caution and proper planning and execution of a weight lifting regimen. With the above tips, you should be able to create a personalized weightlifting plan that ensures both safety and optimum results.
So....what's keeping you from starting?