When it comes to exercise, your age can play a funny – and often restrictive – role. People who are still in their late teens and early twenties generally get away with moving less, while those who are older typically seem to shy away from doing anything strenuous for fear of injury. But no matter how old you are, you should be lifting weights!
Most of my friends my age (22) have never picked up anything heavy in their lives. While I’m slowly starting to convert some of them, there sadly is still a large illogical prejudice towards strength training. People who are in their 20s should be taking advantage of the fact that their bodies can adapt quickly and already be developing good habits now.
On the other end of the scale, it is so important for older people to lift weights. The production of muscle protein slows down naturally as people age, and the number of muscles fibers also decreases leading to less muscle mass. Research has shown that for every half kilogram of muscle you lose, you gain a kilogram of fat.
All this results in people becoming fatigued more easily, discouraging them from exercise and worsening the problem.
Muscle wasting typically begins when you hit your 30s, but becomes most significant after the age of around 45, when you start losing 1 per cent of muscle mass every year. By the time you are 60, you will have lost 30 per cent of your lean muscle – provided that you aren’t doing anything to prevent it!
It’s crucial that during this time you – if you aren’t already – lift weights to prevent muscle wasting. When you solely focus on cardio, you are simply damaging the small muscle you have remaining when you should instead be trying to regain muscle mass. That is why so many women don’t see change in their bodies in middle to older age despite doing hours upon hours of cardio, as they’re only weakening their muscles and doing nothing to increase their fat burning.
Lifting weights also decreases the risk of developing conditions such as osteoporosis. Bone calcium is lost as we age and inactivity only weakens bones further. Strength training actually increases the strength and density of bone tissue by increasing the mineral deposits within the bone.
As Rob pointed out in his guest post, it’s never too old to start training. Lifting weights literally changed his father’s life. I can understand that it may be scary to go into the weights room at first if you’ve never done it before. At the very least, buy a few different sets of dumbbells and do some basic moves at home two to three times a week. Take it easy at first, but then don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and lift heavy for low reps.
So I have some exciting news for you guys, but you’ll unfortunately have to wait until my next post! There’s some people I would rather tell in person than have them find out through my blog (and no, I’m not pregnant!). My mother-in-law is no longer staying with us so I’ll be back to my normal posting schedule now. And my cut begins tomorrow, which I’m super excited about!
How old were you when you started lifting weights? Is there anyone in your life that you think should be lifting weights?