Fitness Tips

50 is Never Too Late for Strength Training

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Who says 50 is too old to work towards your six-pack abs? When you come to think about it, being 50 has its advantages, such as greater self-confidence in who and what you are that can translate to confidence in a Gold’s Gym location. But it has its risks, too, because the body isn’t as young, strong and agile as it used to be resulting in slower recovery times, among others.

Pumping Iron as an Antidote to Aging Issues

The range of age-related physical issues when you hit your 50s, such as sore backs, joint stiffness, and sleep troubles, can be reduced in intensity by strength training. Indeed, there are numerous benefits to pumping iron later in your life!

As your body ages, you will experience a loss in body balance, muscle strength, and overall coordination because your muscle fibers start shrinking in number and size.  You will have a more difficult time keeping your weight at its ideal level because of your slower metabolism, as well as the fact that muscle burns a higher number of fat and calories. Your body starts getting flabbier and flabbier in places where muscles were evident, especially around your middle.

But these changes may not even start in your 50s but in your 40s! This can be attributed to several factors from genetics to an unhealthy diet, smoking and drinking alcohol, and lack of physical activity.

There’s good news, fortunately, because resistance training can contribute in reversing the decline – or at least, significantly delaying the aging process. With proper and regular strength training, you will see increased strength, coordination and balance, as well as a better physique and mindset.  You become an active participant in your own healthy mind and body that, hopefully, will result in a longer and happier life!

Of course, cardiovascular training is also a must at any age because it strengthens the heart and lungs, among other benefits. But strength training has also been proven as the only type of exercise effective for substantially slowing down the age-related decrease in bone density and muscle mass, size and strength.  These were once considered inevitable in an aging body but these can be reversed and it starts with strength training.

Pumping Iron Safety Tips in Your 50s

But don’t pick up the weights at your nearest Gold’s Gym either without getting the basics of strength training in your 50s. Due to the abovementioned changes in your body, your risk for injury during exercise increases – and we don’t want injuries to become your reason to stay out of the gym either.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the following safety tips are a must for men and women who engage in strength training in their 50s.

  • Strength and cardiovascular training should be combined and performed on a regular basis.
  • Aerobic training can be done 3 to 5 days a week with 20 to 60 minutes each session, but other types of aerobic activity like brisk walking outside the gym can be also be done on a near-daily basis.
  • Weight training must be done 2 to 3 times per week for 20 to 30 minutes each session. The limitation is crucial for proper muscle and bone recovery after weightlifting sessions – too much and your body can suffer from injuries, too little and you will not be able to maximize your capacity.
  • Choose weights that can be lifted for 10 to 15 reps for each session before your muscles become fatigued.

Strength training isn’t just for building an impressive muscled physique in your 50s. Studies have also shown that it can increase bone mass resulting in reduced risk for fractures, sprains, and osteoporosis as well as in improved sleep, mood and overall outlook in life.

Pumping Iron According to Your Category

There’s also the matter of strength training depending on which category you fall into.

First, if you have been into strength training since your younger years with consistent and constant weightlifting, you must also acknowledge the changes in your body despite being in great shape.  You may still pump iron like you’re still in your 20s but your body will show signs of fighting the stress you’re subjecting it to.

  • Avoid overloading too much of any muscle type.
  • Focus on whole body training, functional fitness, and movement.
  • Concentrate on mobility improvements while also keeping your activities varied, such as light weights today and CrossFit-inspired workout tomorrow.

Second, if you have lapsed from your strength training program for several years but you’re raring to get back on track, you should keep these tips in mind:

  • Start as if you’re a beginner.
  • Begin by choosing lighter weights and go from there.
  • Consider your body’s current condition, especially in choosing the movement, because it will affect your overall goals.
  • Accept that regaining full strength will likely not be possible because of the changes in your aging body.

Third, if you haven’t trained in your life, you should ideally ask a personal trainer for assistance. You will definitely benefit from the professional guidance.

Don’t forget about the proper nutrition and healthy lifestyle habits, too. At any age, the trinity of exercise, diet and lifestyle applies.