Weight lifting has entered main stream exercise programs and is often recommended by physicians as a necessary addition to a regular exercise program even for senior citizens. However, weight lifting is more intimidating than a walk around the block, and it is surrounded by more misconceptions. But it is also nothing short of a miracle in its ability to revitalize the body.
So, why do many older adults find weight lifting so intimidating?
This is in part because weight lifting is associated with gyms and body builders. And there is a certain mystique about both. But body-builders are not thugs, they are nice guys (and girls) with a lot of muscle – and gyms are clean, safe, friendly places where more and more older adults are becoming lean, energetic and healthy. So, don’t miss out.
Yes, you must pick up those big, clunky-looking, metal things and move them around – a lot. And, yes if you are not used to gyms, they can seem frightening. The equipment is, well, heavy. The machines are complicated. And occasionally the staff seems too busy to help the total neophyte. Or at least you think they’re too busy, so you leave.
Some things worth considering before you give up:
Adding strength training to a regular exercise program may “cut your risk of Alzheimer’s in half.”
A University of Wisconsin research study also pointed out that regular exercise is very effective against Age-related Macular Degeneration; although, the exercise needed to be high intensity. Intense bouts of exercise, 3 times a week made the subjects “70% less likely to develop AMD.” While walking or other lower-intensity exercise made subjects “30% less likely.”
Other benefits of weight training for seniors include: decreased risk of diabetes, colon cancer, lower back pain and arthritic pain.
So, it’s not just about preventing heart disease and obesity. There are very few conditions that are not improved or prevented by regular exercise that combines both aerobic and strength training.
Some misunderstandings put to rest –
“I don’t want to get all ‘musclely’.” Don’t worry, you won’t. Women, in particular worry about this, but for women to gain the kind of muscle that female body-builders have requires a pristine diet, killer exercise sessions twice a day, great genes, perfect supplementation, and often – drugs.
Some men, too, do not want to get “too” big. Again, you needn’t worry about this. Body building is a way of life. Lifting weights as part of a regular exercise program is a way to enhance life. So, don’t let this opportunity slip by you.