One of the most common complaints about aging is the loss of physical strength, endurance and flexibility that seems to be a natural consequence of growing older. While it’s true that hormonal changes take place – which can cause a reduction in muscle mass and lean body tissue – there is no reason to not get your strength back by following a balanced, moderate strength training program.
It’s never too late to begin a strength training regimen and benefit from it. Many studies have shown that men and women who start lifting weights later in life still reap the same benefits as those who begin much younger.
Whether in the gym or at home, a simple but consistent strength program will benefit everyone. Here are some ways people can benefit from lifting weights.
Increases Muscle Strength, Balance, Flexibility, and Mobility
The primary benefit of lifting weights is the ability to directly increase muscle strength. A well-rounded weight training program, one which targets all the major muscle groups in the body, contributes to increase strength, balance, coordination and flexibility. In other words, people who lift weights regularly can move around much better and bend, lift, reach, climb and carry with less exertion, less chance of injury and with greater efficiency.
Reduces High Blood Pressure and Associated Health Risks
Another powerful health benefit of strength training is that it reduces the risk of high blood pressure, particularly while resting. This is a key indicator of heart health and overall well-being. The most common causes of death in industrialized nations are all related to heart failure in some form, so lifting weights to reduce blood pressure is a sensible activity for people of all ages, but it’s particularly wise for men and women in their 40s, 50s and 60s.
Eliminate Body Fat and Reduce Obesity Symptoms
Many people are unaware that lifting weights is great not only for building strength, but also for losing weight. In decades past, it was thought that lifting weights builds muscle while aerobics burn fat. Now, it’s important to understood that weight lifting is actually excellent for reducing overall levels of body fat, since added muscle burns fat calories all day long, not just while you’re in the gym.
In fact, intense weight lifting sessions using heavy weights can actually raise metabolism and keep it elevated for several hours after the workout has been completed. There are many ways in which weight lifting is actually superior to cardio exercise for burning fat.
Decreased Risk of Falls and Bone Fractures
With the additional strength, balance and coordination that weight training brings, there is also a lowered risk of falling or injuring yourself. Tripping and falling is a major cause of bone fractures, many of which require months or even years of healing and therapy in order for complete recovery to take place.
Weight training, using a variety of compound, multi-joint exercises, is the best way to improve balance and decrease the chances of these falls from taking place.
Reduces Daily Aches and Pains Associated with Strength and Flexibility Loss
As the body ages, muscles and joints lose their strength and flexibility, which often leads to constant feelings of stiffness and soreness – especially when any physical activity is required. A steady workout program can reduce and even eliminate these pains.
Anyone suffering from stiffness and achiness in the back, shoulders or legs should consult a medical professional and look into adding some exercises to their day to help them loosen up and strengthen their muscles to alleviate these pains.