It's been in the news recently about how resistance exercises, particularly weight-lifting is beneficial to individuals in the over-60yrs age group. In particular, one of the most important benefits will be that it will help strengthen your bones helping to reduce your risk of Osteoporosis which is a weakening of the bones that affects some people particularly post menopausal women. It improves your balance and assists you in your day to day life helping you carry shopping bags, climb stairs. Even the movement of getting up from a chair will be made easier as you will be making your core stronger and as well as you lower body.
Lifting weights 2-3 times a week for around 30-40 minutes a day can build muscle mass, muscle strength, keep the bone density you already have as well as improve it, help you keep your independence and your enthusiasm for life. The latter is the first to go if age isn’t being kind to you, if everything you do gives you pain or you feel that age is stopping you tackling jobs you could do 10 years ago, then maybe you need to start being more proactive and look for ways to increase your energy and you strength.
For too long people have been getting to 60+ years and deciding that that’s it, they are officially old with their bus pass, the question of exercising is now maybe a walk to the shops and the notion of picking up a barbell anytime soon just isn’t there. This is where we are getting it wrong, we should still be exercising, moving and lifting as this will make our quality of life now and in the future when we are into our 70-80yrs much easier to cope with. It will help people stay in their homes longer as the stairs won’t be an issue, there won’t be as many falls as our balance and core will be stronger and our bones will be if we do harder, so if we fall there won’t be as many breakages of limbs. There would be decreased risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes type2 and heart disease which could save the NHS millions in future years.
As well as the physical health benefits there will be mental health improvements too, such as more confidence, improved sleep, helping to control weight and a reduction in depression too. The key challenges for anyone wanting to start lifting later in life is to find the most appropropriate strength training program, one that will be beneficial to the individual and will aid instead of hinder them late in life.
My advice to anyone wanting to start lifting weights for any age is get the correct advice on form and the lifts. Employ either a PT or join a good gym where the instructors are proactive in helping you on the gym floor. Get the right program, so know what you want to improve your core strength, lower/upper body or maybe you feel it's an all over body strengthening program you want to employ.
If you are over 60+yrs there are a few more considerations you need to think about such as what is your general health such as blood pressure, are your joints ok. It would be a sensible idea if you ask the advice of your Dr before you jump straight into a weights program. After that, if it’s all systems go then the world’s your oyster, enjoy the movements and reap the benefits that an increase of strength can do to your quality of life!