Age….Pfffff….it’s just a number!
Strength training doesn’t discriminate.
I believe strength training is an awesome tool for becoming the best version of you. Regardless of your age, or any limitations you possess, you can do it in some manner or form.
Alan is one of my favourite members of the gym I use! He is 85years young and is an avid strength trainee. He’s strong, independent, and kicking ass better than many people decades younger than him. He knocks out 50 pull-ups each day that he goes to the gym!!! 50!!!
He is also a kind, friendly, chatty guy who makes sure he always says hello and asks about family/work/hobbies etc! One of this world’s true gems!
He tells me he strength trains to keep himself mobile and strong. It enables him to carry out the DIY jobs that he enjoys doing. He says just lifting a drill would be difficult otherwise.
Previously my training partner (until she got so strong I couldn’t keep up!) Debbie is just a wee 60 years young. A wife, a mother of three children and a grandmother. She has raced and been on the podium in many full Ironman events including the World Championships in Hawaii.
Now she races in long distance cycling events including The Haute Route (a bike race in The Alpes covering the highest, steepest and most renowned terrain in world cycling over 7 consecutive days). Her next venture is the ‘Baa Baa Bikepack’ – a 5360km bike ride around Britain!!!!
In between her work, family commitments, social life and training she tries to supplement her many hours on the bike with plenty of core training and some weight training. She ensures me she is looking forward to retiring from work at the end of the month when she will be able to spend a few more hours strength training with her husband in preparation for her events. A truly inspirational woman with a heart of gold and hospitality and generosity to match!
Kay is another of my favourite gym members. A sociable, sophisticated lady who I think we’d all happily adopt as our own mum! Believe it or not she is nearly 64 years young! She is a wife, a mother of two and now a grandmother.
Going to the gym 6 or 7 times per week. Religiously lifting weights and participating in classes and circuit sessions. You will always find her in the extra abs classes and somehow seems to do it all oozing elegance and glamour and a massive smile at 6:30am?!?
How does that even happen?!
These are just a few of the many many people I know and train alongside, of all ages, that benefit from exercise for maintaining not only their chosen hobbies but also a decent quality of life to conduct everyday tasks and jobs.
I must add I didn’t choose these three people to write about because I think they are ‘old’, I chose them because I hold a high level of respect for what they do, how they do it and the impact they have all had on my training and outlook on life and their age is just not an obstacle for them.
I am not suggesting that this intensity of exercise is going to be right for everyone. Your own goals will be individual and my role is to help you define these and then achieve them. Contact me here if you want to find out more!
Now let’s get down to some facts.
Did you know that between the ages of 30 and 80, without weight training, you can expect to lose about 15% of your muscle mass? Age-related loss of muscle mass is known as sarcopenia, and can be very easily avoided. Bone density and metabolism will also be affected through neglect so these factors combine to emphasise the importance of strength training for combating frailty and disability and for staying active and self-sufficient.
What this means in everyday life is that regular training will help you feel stronger and healthier, and give you the ability to continue to do such tasks as gardening, carrying your shopping and picking up your grandchildren.
On the other hand, if you stop working your muscles, the consequences of sarcopenia include increased risk of falls and fractures, impaired ability to regulate body temperature, slower metabolism and loss in the ability to perform everyday tasks.
Research has consistently shown the fitness and health benefits of strength training for older adults. You don’t have to decline with age! You can control these declines or even reverse them with strength training. It will have a great impact on the quality of your life as you grow older.
No matter what your age is, whether you’re 18 or 90, you can, and should, strength train.
Don’t think about the stuff you can’t do due to previous injuries or other limitations, just focus on what you can. Work with what you have, because that’s the only thing you can control.
If you want to stay fit, trim, strong, mobile, and physically independent as you age, then you should be strength training for 30 minutes, twice a week. There isn’t another investment that pays off as well. It now makes up the majority of my workouts….does it yours?
Note: Although moderate strength training is very safe, if you are 35 or older or have heart disease or another medical condition, you should check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.