One of the most common statements we hear from people who come into the gym is that training and seeing results is so much harder to accomplish now that they are older, compared to when they were in their 20’s and 30’s. While the pounds may have seemed like they just dropped off you in your younger years after a light jog, that’s not to say seeing results at an older age is impossible. In fact, just the opposite. Some of our athletes are over 50 and healthier than they have ever been. So lets tackle some of those myths and learn how to train as we age.
- Is weightlifting as we get older bad for you?
Weightlifting is a broad term. Many people think Strongest Man competitors when they hear weightlifting but it simply is the act of lifting barbells, dumbbells and other weighted items from the ground to the shoulders and /or overhead. Lifting something to your shoulders or overhead are both functional daily movements — picking up a full laundry basket from the ground, putting a box on a shelf overhead, lifting the heavy grocery bags onto the counter – these all mimic weightlifting movements and are essential to daily function. How we choose to perform them determines whether or not these movements are bad for our health.
Picture someone who has never worked out a day in their life. They have no training in how to properly lift these items. A woman in her 40’s who feels healthy overall, keeps her knees straight, hinges at the waist with a rounded back and tries to pick up the laundry basket that’s just a little heavier than she anticipated. Instantly, she feels a zing through her back and down her leg and now she can’t move without intense pain. We all know someone who this has happened to, maybe even ourselves.
Now imagine a woman in her 60’s trains regularly at the gym. She has been conditioned and trained in movements like the clean, the deadlift, the overhead press. As she picks up the laundry basket, without hesitation, she bends her knees with a flat back and lifts the heavier than usual basket without an issue. Weightlifting is not about lifting as heavy and as hard as you can. It is about functional strength and as we get older, that reason for lifting becomes even more important.
Training without a coach to progress you or correct form can be dangerous if you are new to lifting but weightlifting is one of the best things we can do for our body as we age so find yourself a great coach if you don’t already have one and get started. You can schedule a meeting with one of our amazing coaches today and see what we mean.
2. What’s the hardest part of getting fit?
As we age, at every stage of change, our body requires different dynamics – different nutritional requirements, different ways to approach metabolic conditioning, different ways to incorporate impact etc. Rather than limit ourselves from performing these activities we used to be able to do without a problem, we need to look at how we approach training as a whole and adapt with our body.
Many athletes used to love running in their younger days without pain or discomfort during or after a run. Many people, however feel they need to avoid running altogether and stay away from cardio now as a whole, thus making it harder for them to do what they used to enjoy and see the results they are looking for by adding in a form of cardio. Avoiding a movement or activity because it hurts is not the answer. At GET Fit, our coaches will help you identify that pain or discomfort, usually linked to muscle imbalance, weakness or underactive muscle groups. Once the problem is identified, our coaches will help you address the issue by strengthening, improving balance, releasing muscle tension and other modalities to help solve the issue.
That being said, running may not be the answer anymore for someone who has arthritis in their knees after years of wear and tear. But avoiding cardio altogether is also not the way to go. Finding a new form of low-impact cardio that still gets the heart rate up like rowing or swimming can be a great alternative to help you continue to see those results that metabolic conditioning provides.
So whether you are 25 or 75 and looking to get in shape, our coaches are here to help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, teach you the importance of weightlifting and help you get back to the activities you love in functional and pain free range. Schedule a free No-Sweat Intro with one of them today to talk about your goals and how we can help!