Am I Too Old To Strength Train?
When should I stop lifting weights?
There is a huge shift within our healthcare system from reactionary measures to preventative. Unfortunately, the human body was built to break down with age. The older our skeletal and cardiovascular systems become, the less efficient our lungs are, but more importantly, the more our muscles start to atrophy at an exponential rate. So this brings up the question, should we continue to strength train (lift weights) as we get older?
The answer is very simply abso-friken-lutely! If you are over the age of 40 and are not strength training, I recommend you start ASAP! If you are over 70 years old, I recommend you start before the end of this article (read below on how one of our most successful clients started at age 70).
WHY STRENGTH TRAINING IS IMPORTANT FOR OLDER ADULTS
Getting older is associated with a number of physical and mental declines that can cause disability and reduced quality of life. Done regularly (e.g., 2 to 3 days per week) strength training can help increase the quality and number of years of your life by:
- Building muscle strength to prevent atrophy
- Preserve bone density
- Reduce osteoporosis
- Reduce heart disease
- Reduce arthritis symptoms
- Reduce type 2 diabetes
- Reduce cholesterol and body fat
- Improve sleep
- Reduce depression
If you don't believe me check out what the top researchers are saying in these articles. The benefits of strength training for older adults and Strength training in older adults: The benefits for osteoarthritis.
Is 50 too Old?
Client Case Study: Carrie A
Carrie A has been with vagus fitness for over a year. When she walked through our doors, her knees constantly ached, and was not able to squat, bend or move effectively. Her exercise routine consisted of longs walks and zero resistance training. She has thyroid issues and allergies to gluten, so nutrition has always been something she has paid attention to. Her goal was to be able to keep up with her husband when they went on hikes and had a goal for a big hike in Hawaii. Managing her weight was also important to her.
The solution we prescribed Carrie, was a progressive strength training program 3x/week. Since starting a year ago, she is now able to do movements such as deadlifts, squats, and even assisted pull-ups. She has gone on numerous hikes, biking trips and adventures, and now her husband is trying to keep up to her (seriously). Carrie has also lost 10's of inches and decreased her dress size, all while keeping off the weight. 50 is definitely not too old to start!
Is 60 too Old?
CLIENT CASE STUDY: Allison
Allison M is a client of Vagus Fitness, but also my mother (Kyle)! I often use my mother as a case because she is a 60 year old but moves and looks like she is 30. Over the past 6 months, Allison has significantly changed her program. Previously she was an "over exerciser". She did two fitness classes a day, 7 days a week. Her goal was to maintain her physical condition and get slightly more toned.
In order help her reach her goals, we actually had to reduce the volume of her exercise program and focus on quality of workouts - utilizing the benefits of MORE rest time. Sticking to these principals, she is slightly more toned and managed to get crazy strong. So strong, that she now hold 3 provincial powerlifting records. 60 is definitely not too old to start!
Is 70 too Old?
CLIENT CASE STUDY: Dianne
Dianne P started with us about a year ago. Dianne is one of our most successful clients and an excellent example of how it is never to late to start an exercise program. Dianne came to us with pain in her joints from osteoarthritis and other bone and joint issues effecting her movement and health. Her goals were to play tennis and trim up.
After going through our program 1-2x/week Dianne has reduced her pain in her joints which allows her to perform the activities she loves - like tennis and hiking - and is able to follow and understand exercises such as goblet squats and deadlifts (deadlifts at 70!). 70 is definitely not too old to start!