Even senior citizens can benefit from weight training

When many people think of weightlifting or strength training they picture young, athletic men and women powering up barbells and dumbbells.
But did you know that weightlifting, also known as strength training, can greatly benefit people into their 80s and even 90s?
Who knows, maybe there are even some 100-year-olds who do light arm curls or leg lifts.
A relative of mine in her 60s was recently diagnosed with early stage osteoporosis. One of the first things the doctor told her was to begin a controlled weightlifting program to strengthen her muscles.
Seniors are often encouraged to do exercises such as arm curls with light weights, leg lifts and other exercises depending on their health. By exercising with weights, people of any age can get their circulation flowing, burn off calories and improve their muscle tone.
If you’re interested in weightlifting or have a family member who it might benefit, but aren’t sure how to go about it, here are some basic tips you should know:
* Before starting a weightlifting program, or any new fitness regimen for that matter, check with your doctor. A doctor can help decide if you face any risks or need to make modifications for your health and safety.
* Talk to a trainer or research on your own by reading books or magazines to find a beginner’s program that fits your goals.
* Hoime gyms are easier to set up than you might think. You can buy machines such as functional trainers, and also add free weights such as dumbbells and barbells.
* Emphasize proper form over trying to lift the most weight you can. It’s much more important to use proper form because if you’re doing exercises wrong there is a greater risk of injury.
* For beginners, make sure you can do 12-15 repetitions of an exercise several workouts in a row before considering to increase the weight you’re lifting.
* If you work out at a gym, don’t be intimidated by other weightlifters. We all start somewhere and all have our adversity we face from time to time. Work hard, do your best and you can feel just worthy of being there as the next guy or gal.
* Remember to schedule at least one or two off days during the week as recovery time is crucial to building muscle.
* Finally, don’t give up. Stick with it and you will see results in no time. A strong, muscular body will help make you feel years younger and better support your spine and the rest of your body.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at aaron@athomefitness.com

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