PEOPLE TELL ME AGE IS JUST A NUMBER…..
I don’t believe that, but I know I can stay in shape even as I age. I have worked out (or played sports) for my entire life and still do so at age 81.
We need to do fewer sets with lighter weights, but we can still maintain and gain muscle.
Men’s Health gives us these 4 mental adjustments to consider:
- Dumbbells may be more appropriate than barbells, since our connective tissues are losing elasticity
- Isolation exercises are better now, since we can recover more quickly than from heavier lifts
- We should do foam rolling, yoga or other forms of recovery for one hour for every half hour of weight lifting
- We would be wise to limit our training to a specific time or number of sets. Maybe 12 sets in total.
Here is my recent picture, at age 80
CARDIO AND RESISTANCE TRAINIING
By all means, we should do both, but from what I see among other seniors, cardio seems to be preferable. Many people over 50 take walks, but I doubt if as many seniors incorporate weight training into their schedules.
Wake Forest University did a study on the value of exercise for overweight seniors in their 60s. This was an 18-month study of 249 participants.
All of the 249 people were put on a diet of restricted calories. The objective was to lose fat while maintaining muscle. They were placed into 3 groups. Those who:
- Walked for exercise
- Lifted weights
- Did no exercise
- Weight trainers lost 17 lbs. of fat
- Walkers lost 16 lbs. of fat
- Those only dieting lost 10 pounds of fat
Loss of muscle mass was:
- 4 lbs. for the walkers
- 2 lbs. for the weight lifters and those who only dieted
Those who lifted weights had the most notable success and those who walked lost more muscle mass than those who only dieted.
Bottom line – seniors need to maintain their muscular strength to be able to continue performing routine chores. Cardio is great, but resistance training preserving strength is at least as important, and more so based on the study.
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Here are some relevant links;
DICK’S SPORTING GOODS
I am also an associate of Dick’s Sporting Goods, as well as a customer for several decades. Seniors in their 50s, 60s and 70s often still play golf and/or tennis, if not team sports. The best way to stay in shape may be to keep participating in a sport. DSG can best help you out. They are the experts. Here is the link for DSG, which is also at the side of my website
It may be very helpful to enlist the advice of a personal trainer as you set upon a weight training program – at any age. They can design an individualized routine for you and keep you motivated. You can be assured that the instruction you receive is professional and competent. The American Council on Exercise is another affiliation I have. ACE is the largest non-profit certification organization for fitness professionals. Check them out if you would like to become a personal trainer. They also have several other opportunities for fitness professionals.
MY CURRENT PROGRAM
I work out every morning before breakfast, alternating physical therapy with light bodybuilding. My physical therapy is to strengthen my lower back. I do 13 movements every other day and have been able to avert back surgery. On the other days, I work back, chest, and arms before doing either an outdoor walk or treadmill work – about 10 sets. I use dumbbells and Bullworker tools.
Is 50 the new 30? I don’t know, but I can attest that aging need not be a negative period of our lives. We simply need to adjust our expectations without abandoning our goals for fitness and health.
I have found it important to do a workout of some kind whenever my schedule calls for it. If we are feeling less than stellar, we can at least get in 10-15 minutes. The important thing is to be consistent.
Play music when on a treadmill or when working with weights. Stay motivated!
Remember – February 14 is coming soon. Check my prior post on Valentine’s Day!
Please leave me any comments or questions in the “Comments” section below. Or email me, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be well and stay healthy!