Why You Should Lift Weights As You Age

Everyone knows that exercising is good for their body but most people above 65 stay away from weight training and prefer to do cardiovascular exercises like running or aerobics. No matter what your reservations about pumping iron are, it’s time for you to reconsider because a new study has found that lifting weights can make you live longer. The study states that weightlifting can cut your risk of a premature death by 19%.

Researchers at the Penn State College of Medicine analyzed a group of people aged 65 and older and their fitness habits for 15 years. Though only 10% of these people did some form of weight bearing exercises, it was found that they were 46% less likely to die prematurely than the participants that didn’t lift.


When you think of weight lifting, you probably imagine building muscle. However, apart from strengthening muscles, weight lifting also increases bone density. This means people who lift are less prone to falls and fractures, which are common as you age.

If you’re someone who’s already lifting, then do not stop because of your age. And for people who are not doing any form of strength training, this study comes as a huge incentive to start lifting; any age is a good time to start. You might think that your body does not have the strength it used to but with simple strength training routines, you can build and strengthen your muscles at any age. The following 6 reasons should give you all the motivation your need.


1. Lift Weights To Fight Aging


Aging can be a difficult process. Slowly realizing that your body is not as nimble and strong as it was before could make you compromise on many activities you might still want to do. The good news is that aging can be fought. Researchers at Tufts University exercise lab have found that strength training is an effective way to prevent the effects of aging.


Health and fitness professionals across the country are recommending weight training to older men and women not just to build strength but also to combat aging. Age-related problems like reduction in bone density, metabolism, and muscle mass can be reversed or prevented from progressing by strength training. Lifting can also help with arthritis, back pain, and diabetes.

2. Build Muscle And Lose Fat



Physically inactive people can lose as much as 3% to 5% (around 5-7 pounds) of their muscle mass each decade after age 30. Since your muscles are also major calorie burners, muscle loss leads to a metabolic rate reduction of 2-5% per decade. However, since most people’s calorie intake does not reduce with age, the unused calories are stored as fat which is why people put on weight as they grow older. But studies have shown that even a basic 3-month strength-training program can result in adding 3 pounds of muscle and losing 4 pounds of fat, while eating 15% more calories.

3. Increase Your Bone Strength



Your bones are another important reason why you should take up strength training. Though it was believed that aging women might be able to slow bone loss but not increase bone density, a research done by Tufts University found that strength training can actually increase bone density. This means you can not only stop your bones from becoming more brittle but also work towards make them stronger over time with strength training.

4. Get Relief From Arthritic Pain



The Tufts University research also found that one of the best ways to get relief from your arthritis could be strength training. Lifting weights not just helps in lubricating and nourishing your joints but also strengthens the muscles around the joints affording greater support to your joints.

5. Reduce The Risk Of Diabetes



Glucose tolerance has been known to decrease with advancing age. This decline begins in the third or fourth decade of life and increases as you age further. The main reason for this glucose intolerance is your tissues becoming unresponsiveness to insulin, thus increasing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. However, studies have found glucose uptake can be increased by up to 23% with just 4 months of strength training.

6. Strength Training Is Simple


Strength training works on a simple concept. You increase the weight lifted by your muscles on an incremental basis so that they become stronger and more toned. In the process of lifting weights, your bones, tendons, and ligaments also come into play making them stronger over time. When your muscles are stronger, you have more strength and balance making it less likely for you to fall and injure yourself.