Pumping Iron Into Your 60s And Beyond: Weight Training Found To Be Key To Long Life
By Kurtis Bright
Hitting The Weights As A Senior: How Lifting Can Help Extend Your Life As Much As Aerobic Exercise
By now, it should be apparent to everyone that exercise along with a sensible diet is an undeniable key to a longer, healthier life. When it comes to aerobic exercise, the evidence has been in for some time; there isn’t a medical professional out there who would deny that exercise of the kind that stimulates the cardiovascular system is vital.
And especially when it comes to older people, getting out for at least a 30 minute walk or light run several times a week is universally thought of as a vital part of staying healthy.
However, it's not just aerobic exercise that helps. Did you know that lifting weights can also add years to your life, especially in aging populations?
Considered by many the ugly step-cousin to aerobic exercise, weight training is often seen as something meathead frat boys to in order to develop pectorals with which to impress sorority girls--in other words, something young people do.
However, a recent study shows that people aged 65 and older who followed a weight training program were nearly 50 percent less likely to die than those who did not.
Conducted by the Penn State University College of Medicine, the study followed a group of men and women aged 65 and older for 15 years. During that time, nearly a third of the participants passed away.
And less than 10 percent of the participants followed a strength training regimen. But members of that group were a whopping 46 percent less likely to die during the 15 years the researchers looked at.
The researchers adjusted for a variety of physical factors: body-mass index, chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension, as well as total physical activity. They also factored in the participants’ drinking and smoking habits.
All told, the weight training was linked to a 19 percent reduced chance of death.
And you would probably be surprised to learn just how many calories weight training burns. Not only that, it helps with weight loss even when you're not working out: simply by changing the ratio of muscle to fat on your frame, you burn more calories throughout the day, even when resting. (By the way, that doesn’t just apply to seniors, for any of you who are reluctant to take the plunge and hit the gym.)
While of course any seniors who want to get going on a weight training program should be encouraged, it is also recommended that you start with a trainer to carefully build a program of exercises and intensities designed for you and your personal physical needs and limitations. Be sure to mention any chronic pain or injuries that you might need to work around before you get started.
Most gyms offer one free session with a professional trainer, so what are you waiting for?