Weight Training Isn’t Just for the Young

January 08, 2017 | 377 views

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As people age they may become more lax when it comes to exercising and maintaining peak fitness. But remember that without proper training and enough movement, your muscles may atrophy and lose their mass, a condition known as sarcopenia.

Keep on reading to learn how to prevent this dangerous condition, and why incorporating a well-rounded exercise routine becomes even more important as you age.

Effects and Drawbacks of Sarcopenia on the Body

Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle tissues that is part of the natural aging process. Aside from the loss of muscle mass, muscle strength and capabilities are also put on the adversely impacted.

Without exercise or weight training, there is a chance that you’ll start losing up to 15 percent of your muscle mass between the ages of 30 and 80. This gradual loss of mass will lead to the decrease in your strength and endurance.

You’ll eventually notice that you’re not able complete tasks and participate in the activities that used to be routine.  

The Benefits of Weight Training

As some of you may know, weight training is an essential part of my workout routine. But some people are intimidated by the prospect of weight training. Remember that weight training isn’t just for health nuts and fitness buffs. It is especially valuable during your senior years. All it takes is motivation and an open mind.

Weight training provides countless benefits to elderly people who are willing to work their muscles. The American College of Sports Medicine notes that eight weeks of weight training for people between the ages of 87 to 96 showed a 180 percent increase in their mobility. Seniors may see the following benefits once they start weight training:

  • Improved Walking Ability

People who weight train have a better ability to walk for longer periods of time as compared to people who don't. Difficulty walking is a common indication of aging, and people over the age of 80 usually start to lose their ability to walk and balance themselves. Weight training helps in this because it trains the muscles in your legs and feet to maintain your balance and agility.

  • Prevention of Accidents and Falls

As mentioned above, people who weight train have a better grasp on their body balance. This decreases their risk of suffering from falls and accidents, which may cause broken bones and other physical injuries.

  • Relief From Arthritis

Arthritis plagues an estimated 12.1 percent of the population here in the U.S. Exercising helps in both the prevention of arthritis and pain management. It lubricates the joints, keeps joint swelling at bay and stops bone loss.

  • Weight Loss

Weight lifting does not entirely focus on weight loss, but it can contribute to weight management in overweight seniors.

Weight Training and Intermittent Fasting

Now, if your goal is to lose weight, there are various practices that can help you achieve it. Together with weight training, you can employ what we call the “intermittent fasting,” also called “Peak fasting.” This refers to the type of scheduled intake of food, where you limit your daily eating to a six- to eight-hour window. This doesn’t require you to cut off the number of calories you eat. Some of the benefits of intermittent fasting are:

  • Increased insulin and leptin sensitivity
  • Increased ghrelin levels
  • Weight loss and being “fat-adapted”

When you do weight training and intermittent fasting, you’re on your way to taking control of your health. These two practices can help you lose weight and keep your muscles healthy through constant movement.

You Can Also Try Super-Slow Weight Training

During a super-slow workout, by slowing down your movement, you’re actually turning it into a high-intensity exercise. I recommend this for older people because it means that you’re shortening the amount of time you’re using up for exercising, but still get the same amount of gains as when you do regular weight training. It’s also recommended because of the effect it has on the human growth hormone (HGH).

HGH is responsible not only for cell growth and regeneration, but also for the overall maintenance of our body tissues. Like all of the hormones in our body, HGH is also affected by aging. After you turn 30 years old, there is a decline on the production of HGH in your body. This is what we call “somatopause.” Through super-slow weight training, you’re helping stimulate your body to produce HGH, so you can maintain muscle mass and body health.

Aging is not an excuse for you to slack off. In fact, it should be motivation for you to keep on exercising and training in order to stay healthy and fit as you age. Incorportate weight training in your schedule and keep your body in its peak condition. For more information about the benefits of weight training at an older age, read my article “Never Too Old to Start Weight Training.”