Senior Weight Training: Are You Too Old to Lift Weights?
You might think lifting weights is an activity reserved for people in their 20s and 30s, but you’d be wrong. In fact, the American College of Sports Medicine actually recommends weight training for people over 50 and says even people in their 90s can experience positive results.
There may be no such thing as time travel, but senior weight training is a bit like rolling back the clock for elderly bodies. It offers incredible benefits like the following:
- Relief from arthritis pain. When you train, you strengthen your muscles, tendons and ligaments around joints and improve your overall range of motion. Senior weight lifting can help cut down on pain in the joints by increasing the capability of muscles surrounding them and easing stress on the joints themselves.
- Better walking ability. Weight training for senior citizens can improve endurance, so you can walk farther distances and for longer periods of time. This can come in handy whether you’re going for a stroll in the park or simply visiting the supermarket.
- Weight loss. Although lifting doesn’t burn many calories, it can be a huge boost for your metabolism. Weight training for senior citizens combined with a healthy diet may result in shedding some excess pounds.
- Ease in performing day-to-day tasks. Senior weight lifting is a great way to help you maintain your independence. From carrying groceries to getting up from your chair, stronger joints and muscles can make your daily routine much easier.
Senior Weight Lifting Tips
Now that you know how beneficial weight training for senior citizens can be, you may be wondering about best practices. If you’re interested in incorporating senior weight training into your lifestyle, our experts recommend following the tips below.
Tip 1: Strength Train at Least Twice a Week
As we age, we start losing muscle strength. Consistency can help you regain muscle mass you’ve lost and slow down the aging of your cells. Establishing a habit of senior weight training twice a week may ward off age-related muscle loss and can even keep you feeling younger than you are.
Tip 2: Start with Bodyweight Exercises
While the goal of senior weight training is to lift weights, you may need to work your way up to that. If the act of picking up weights feels a bit too intense, have no fear. By starting with bodyweight exercises, you can learn proper form, reduce the risk of injury and condition your body for lifting heavier objects down the line. Before you begin senior weight training, we suggest trying activities like push-ups against the wall and shoulder presses with water bottles to help you prepare.
Tip 3: Plan for Extra Warmup and Recovery Time
If there was ever a time to take warmups and cooldowns seriously, it’s now. Why? As a senior citizen, your body heals and recovers slower than it did when you were younger. As a result, it’s important to give yourself extra rest days and take more breaks between weights. Give your body time to adapt and recover from each workout so that you can reap the most benefits and avoid injuries.
Tip 4: Add Balance and Flexibility Exercises
Don’t make the mistake of only focusing on your muscles. When you work to improve your balance and flexibility, you can experience greater strength gains over time. This will help you get the most out of your senior weight training and help you perform your very best each time you work out.
Tip 5: Set Realistic Goals
Keep in mind, you’re not the “you” that you were 20 years ago. It’s important to be mindful of this and approach senior weight lifting with care. Rather than aiming to lift a certain amount of weight, focus on why you want to stay active and strong in the first place. We recommend asking yourself about your needs and goals at this stage in your life. Are you looking to feel more energized? Do you want to lead a better quality of life? Model your senior weight training program after the goals you create.