I was having breakfast with one of the clients here at PP yesterday and he shared with me some great insight into the mind of the older adult. It seems as if there is still a stigma around weight training in the older community.
Maybe you have heard your friends say something like:
“Oh you are deadlifting, you are going to hurt your back!”
“Squats… those are bad for your knees.”
“Well, I walk every day, that's good for me.”
“Why don’t you just do yoga?”
“You only have to lift light weights.”
Well, I’m here to tell you something; this is all kinds of wrong.
The most optimal form of exercise that you can do as an aging adult, and honestly the best exercise for anyone, is lifting weights. Lifting weights has been shown to reduce the loss of bone density and muscle as you age (this is called sarcopenia and it’s a big deal).
The reason why older adults have such a hard time getting around is not that they are “just getting older,” it's because they didn’t do anything to prevent the loss of muscle and bone early enough so now they are suffering the consequences.
Yes, you still need cardio for heart health, and if you are not cardiovascularly fit you will die earlier than someone who is. Over time your daily walk is no longer intense enough to get your heart to adapt. Push a weighted sled around that will help your heart a ton!
Don’t end up like your friends that can’t walk up the stairs anymore without pain.
If you want to be best friends with your doctors and see them more frequently, then just keep sitting around.
But if you want to make your daily activities feel a lot easier and you want to have a better quality of life, then devote a few hours a week to picking up something heavy.(And yes it has to be heavy, heavier than you think is possible.) I’m telling you right now, if you can squat even 50lbs for a set of 10, gardening, keeping up with the grandkids and loading your car up at Costco is gonna be a hell of a lot easier.
Here are some links to studies that show weight training is the fountain of youth.
Progressive Weight bearing exercise is better than walking
It doesn’t have to be complicated any organization of resistance training will do
Aerobic Training and Resistance Training is best for health improvement in older obese individuals
Resistance training not only helps with the sarcopenia but also with functional mobility in the older adult
More evidence on how resistance training can help you in old age
A little more
And even more evidence