As people get older they tend to move away from working out with weights. But that is a mistake. Studies have shown that there is a very clear, natural drop in strength as you get older. Adults who do not exercise their muscles can experience a 5 to 10 percent decrease per decade.
That is a whole lot of strength at a time when you could really use it!
This loss of strength is caused by the gradual loss of muscle tissue which is a part of aging. So unless you are strength training regularly you can expect to lose a few pounds of muscle each year. Of course this results in a lower strength level, a slower metabolic rate, and less energy. One of the best ways to keep strength, metabolic rate, and energy up is to train with weights regularly. It has been proven time and time again with bodybuilders from the 50’s and beyond as they age because they are able to maintain incredible physiques into their 80’s. While your goal might not be that lofty, you can still aim for a moderate level of fitness into your later years.
Weight Training Plan
Check with your Doctor – You should always consult with your doctor before starting any sort of training regime.
Join a Fitness Club – You can always train with free weights at home if you have experience and knowledge. But if that is the case then more than likely you are not reading this. A fitness club will have a full selection of weights and machines along with qualified trainers to help show you the ropes.
Take a Fitness Test – Have you strength assessed so you and the trainer understand where you are. This way you will be able to mark progress and more easily see results as well as note changes as you age.
Work with a Trainer – You should use a trainer for at least a few sessions to make sure you are comfortable with a standard routine, the exercises, and ensuring that you have all the basic questions answered. Once you feel comfortable enough then you can set out on your own or if you would rather keep using a trainer.
Program Selection – Make sure your trainer gives you a program that uses both machines and free weights. While machines are easier to learn, free weights provide a greater range of motion and help re-train the body in areas of agility and balance which is important as you age.
Include Cardio – Cardiovascular training will also help fight back the effects of aging. Along with being important for heart health, it will increase your metabolism and circulation.
Be Consistent – Generally as people get older they end up having more time for hobbies and fun. Make sure to consistently incorporate exercise into your weekly routine. The benefits will pay dividends for the rest of your life and the healthier you are, the more you will enjoy that life.