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Chapter 5 - Seniors and Weight Lifting: Is It Safe?
No matter your age, the health benefits of strength training always abound.
As we age, one of the biggest perks about lifting weight is offsetting the natural muscle loss that occurs with time. Medically known as sarcopenia (muscle loss as a result of aging), this condition worsens when our muscles are left inactive. In fact, starting in our 30's, we can lose 3-5% of muscle mass every ten years if we are and continue to remain physically inactive.
While muscle loss is inevitable whether we are active or not, there is certainly a benefit to reducing the amount you will experience.
As we lose muscle, we lose strength and our ability to move freely and easily.
This muscle loss also reduces our stamina. The less stamina we have, the less likely we are to get up and move.
Enter a slippery slope of muscle loss leading to more muscle loss. Chances of being admitted and readmitted to a hospital for health-related conditions increases greatly as we become more and more inactive.
According to an article published on the (1) National Institutes of Health (NIH) website titled "Protecting muscle mass and function in older adults during bed rest," clear evidence exists showing a relationship between resistance exercise and combating muscle loss and loss of functional capacity.
It is clear that strength training makes sense, no matter your age, to help delay or reduce the natural muscle loss that occurs as part of the aging process, and to fight osteoporosis.
In a study done by (2) Exercise Physiologist Mark Peterson, published in the Medicine & Science In Sports & Exercise, he found that more than 1,300 adults fifty and older could increase muscle mass by an average 2.5 pounds in only five months.
Look at Jack LaLanne, "The Godfather of Fitness"- a perfect example of why strength training can and should be done throughout all ages and stages of life.
For over seventy-five years Jack lived with his top priority in life being his workout each day. He was a big proponent of encouraging the elderly and disabled to work out for health. Jack was a true testament to his preaching, and lived a healthy, vibrant and active ninety-seven years of life.
Once you're cleared by your doctor and given permission to start strength training, get to it!
There are ways you can safely add strength training to your daily routine. Whether with weights or with resistance bands, strength training is key.
Starting slowly is very important. Using your own body weight to supply resistance is a good place to start. As you become comfortable and confident with exercises and proper form, start using light dumbbells to add more resistance. Jumps of five pounds at a time are a safe bet as you become stronger.
Chapter 6- Sample Weight Workout Plan for 65+
Staying active is key to healthy aging.
Science has continually proven that strength training for seniors is beneficial in helping counteract the natural process of muscle loss with age.
If you're looking for a weight lifting plan, here is a great work out you can try.
Note that sets refer to groups of reps. Reps are repetitions, the number of times you repeat a particular exercise consecutively.
Aim to do the following total-body workout three times per week, with a day of rest in between each workout.
(Aim for 10 reps of each, 2-3 sets total per exercise)
Overhead Press (Shoulders)
Sit ups or Crunches (Abs/Lower Back)
Upright Rows (Shoulders/Back)
Side Raises (Shoulders/Back)
Tricep Extension (Triceps)
Wall Pushups (Chest)
Toe Raises (Calves)
*For demonstrations of these exercises simply search on youtube and you will have step by step tutorials and lots of variations to keep things fresh
Be sure to seek medical clearance before engaging in a strength training routine. Drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout. Always warm up before working out and cool down upon completion.
Chapter 7 - Over 65? Listen Up! Exercise Can Improve Your Sex Life
As we age, we may feel like we are destined to enjoy less and less of life's pleasures.
But did you know that exercise can actually improve your sex life? As if feeling more energized, being healthier and looking better wasn't a big enough set of perks of exercising, being active can also improve your sex life!
Let's take a look at how working out in the gym can improve your work outs in the bedroom.
While the type of working out you do varies person to person, what matters most is that you stay active, regardless of the means by which you do.
Cardiovascular exercise is great for your heart. It increases the rate at which blood pumps and flows throughout your body and improves circulation.
Lifting weights increases our growth hormone which in turn increases testosterone. The higher the testosterone, the higher the libido. Taking a yoga class can increase your flexibility which, needless to say, helps in the bedroom.
As we age, it's normal to experience sexual frustrations as a result of a lack of libido or issues such as erectile dysfunction.
Sexual frustrations can eventually lead to relationship issues, but exercise is a great way to help stop this slippery slope. The
boost in strength and endurance you will notice as a result of working out will translate into more endurance between the sheets.