We're all familiar with the idea that we should be exercising so why is weight training for over fifties an important factor that is often over looked? More importantly, why do we need to exercise?
Weight training is often overlooked, as we prioritise other parts of our lives. Exercise is beneficial as it reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure, bone density diseases (e.g. Osteoporosis) and arthritis. It also acts as a natural anti-depressant. Exercise releases endorphins, which helps reduce stress.
One factor that increases the risk of cardiovascular disease is weight gain. As we get older and our lives become more work orientated, we have a tendency to become less active and gain weight. A structured weight training program is one way to combat this. Resistance or weight training builds lean muscle mass, strengthens joint integrity and assists in correcting posture. Muscles naturally burn more energy than fat, hence the more muscle mass we can build, the more energy we can burn on a daily basis. Ladies don't worry! Weights and resistance training will NOT make you bulky! Women simply do not have enough testosterone in their systems to build bulky muscles like men.
Weight bearing exercises and resistance training builds up bone density to fight against brittle bones, osteoporosis and help to avoid other issues caused by a loss in bone density. Weight bearing exercises include brisk walking, jogging, hiking, dancing, team sports and many other options. Resistance training involves adding extra weight to your exercises to strengthen muscles and place the necessary stress on the bones to help develop them. Common examples include using assisted weight machines, free weights such as dumbbells and using your own body weight against gravity (e.g. Push ups or a body weight squat).
Non weight bearing exercises such as swimming and cycling are not as effective in building bone density but are great for heart and lung endurance and health.
In conclusion, the benefits of weight training for over fifties are extensive. Stronger bones, better posture, quicker reaction time to prevent falls and injuries, lower body fat percentage and greater overall body strength are just a few of the benefits that develop from weight training. Not to mention the confidence that comes with learning and mastering new skills! So, find a form of weight training that you enjoy, someone to guide you if you are new to this style of training and enjoy the benefits!
*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.