Weightlifting for Senior Adults – Do’s and Don’ts
As we age, our bodies lose strength and bone density from around the age of thirty on. While this natural change in our make-up may feel hopeless and enevitalbe, take heart, you can fight the effects of time!
Weight and strength training gives your body the extra boost it needs to remain strong and healthy. Weightlifting for senior adults offers many benefits including maintaining and improving muscle condition. Beyond that, there are emotional benefits to weightlifting for senior adults. People who engage in regular exercise generally report an increase in energy and positive feelings.
Chris Corpuz, CEO of Reneu Health, believes exercise programs are important at any age. He and his team are licensed kinesiologists. They offer one on one training programs designed to improve strength, and combat the pain and weaknesses. Chris shares his list of weightlifting do’s and don’ts for adults over the age of 55.
Do Consult Your Physician Before Starting Any Exercise Program
This sounds like school house advice, but it is out there for good reason. Any time you intend to make significant lifestyle changes and put more stress – even the good kind- one your body, you should make sure you are physically ready. Your doctor can give you advice about appropriate activity levels. It is also a good idea to have a baseline physical to help monitor how your exercise efforts impact your overall health.
Do Start Gradually and Listen to Your Body
Many exercise injuries start from a place of good intentions. You are excited to charge into a new gym lifestyle. You join a gym, grab a dumbbell, give a great heave, and POP! There you are feeling pain and not the good muscle sore kind. When it comes to weightlifting for senior adults, working gradually up in weight is a great plan. While your 20-year-old self may have pumped iron like Popey, the more mature you should make sure your body is responding well to your new weight lifting routines. Your training plan should be based off your current health and abilities. If your need a little more support with mobility and balance training check out this article.
Do Be Consistent and Keep it Simple
Starting a new weight and strength training routine can feel intimidating. Just remember showing up and putting in workout effort should produce results. Muscle and strength gains are never overnight. Whether your goal is to walk across a room without assistance, or blast out 10 one arm pushups, consistently working at your goal is the only way to get there.
Do Make it Social and Grab a Friend or Family Member to Join
Social support often pushes people a little harder to reach goals. Connect with peers who are interested in weight training. Weight lifting for senior adults is gaining popularity as an important part of staying healthy and active. Some gyms even have special programs for adults over 65. Inviting a friend to your workout is a great way to bond and share a common goal.
Don’t Perform High Impact Exercises
High impact exercises are not necessarily better, and they are certainly harder on joints. The goal is to improve strength and mobility, and stressing joints compromises that goal. Concentrate on great form, and effective movements. Lots of jostling activity does not guarantee great results.
Don’t Work Through Pain
We have all heard the saying “no pain – no gain”. Not true in weightlifting! While you may feel some soreness post workout. You should not feel pain during your workout, especially if it is sharp and intense. Again, listen to your body. Remember, gaining strength and muscle is a long game, so take your time.
Don’t Do Exercises and Activities You Find Boring.
Sometimes you may be tempted to do an exercise because you are “supposed to”. In reality, you are more likely to stick with an exercise program you enjoy. Experiment with different machines and free weights. Change your workouts up, add music, and have fun!
Don’t Be Afraid to Add Resistance Training
Consider resistance bands or cable machines at a gym. While this may not be what you visualize when you picture yourself weightlifting resistance training may be a valuable tool for gaining strength and mobility. Bands come in different resistance levels, and are great for recovery training.
Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Guidance From a Professional
Often, the biggest barrier to a successful training program is knowing where to start. Weight lifting for Senior adults is a specialty; and trainers should know specific things to watch for when creating training plans for older adults. Working with a professional trainer can set you up for success. You will receive feedback on your form, support, and accountability. Getting a personalized plan just for your goals and abilities may be the difference between thinking about weightlifting and making strength and mobility transformation!
For more information about private weight training for seniors connect with Chris and his team at Reneu Health.