Some people insist it is no longer sensible to lift weights beyond a certain age such as 40 or 50. After all, there is only so much cartilage between the bones and joints. The last thing you need is painful bone-on-bone contact due to excessive weightlifting. Let’s cut through the half-truths, myths and outright lies to get to the bottom of whether it is prudent to lift weights as you enter your golden years.
Why It Makes Sense to Continue Lifting as You Age
Health professionals, doctors and fitness gurus alike concur the majority of muscle mass loss occurs after age 40 and beyond. As a result, it makes sense to continue lifting weights throughout the aging process. This is not to say you should lift the same exact amount of weight in your 40s, 50s or 60s as you did in your teens and 20s. Rather, lifting lighter weights as you enter the midpoint of life and the golden years helps you retain the muscle mass you worked so hard to build in your youth.
Heavy lifting is particularly important for older women. Women face a heightened risk of osteoporosis as they age. The failure to perform weight-bearing exercises throughout the aging process, with a specific focus on heavy lifting, has the potential to come back to haunt women. Continue heavy lifting as long as you can and you will have done your part to boost or maintain your lean muscle mass, bolster your bone mineral density and avoid osteoporosis.
Continue Lifting to Catalyze Your Metabolism
Building and maintaining lean muscle mass is easier said than done. Commit to weightlifting for as long as you are capable of pumping iron and you will have done your part to maintain your lean muscle and also boost your metabolism. Your body’s metabolic rate is of the utmost importance as the metabolism is responsible for burning through the fat added to the body through foods and beverages. Continue to lift as long as you can and you will have done your part to maintain a fast metabolism that ultimately empowers you to enjoy the tasty treats you love.
What About the Potential Risks of Weightlifting Throughout the Aging Process?
It is clear weight training has seemingly countless benefits. However, there will come a point in time at which you are no longer capable of lifting weights or a point when lifting proves destructive. If you lift too much weight or lift at an unnecessarily high frequency in your older years, you might suffer the following consequences:
- Shift vertebrae out of their natural positions
- Endure joint damage
- Tear and/or strain muscles
This is precisely why you should consult with your doctor and/or a personal trainer once you reach age 50. Sit down with such a health professional, discuss your physical condition and delve into your desire (or lack thereof) to lift weights. When in doubt, abide by your doctor or personal trainer’s advice.
Cautious Lifting Will Help You Avoid Injury as You Age
Be sure to warm up properly prior to lifting. A warm-up session will get the blood flowing through your body, helping you become loose and limber and bolster your muscle flexibility. Flexibility helps you avoid a painful muscle tear or strain that could potentially prevent you from lifting in subsequent days, weeks or even months.
Your weightlifting form is especially important as you age. If your form is flawed in any way, you will greatly heighten the risk of injury. Furthermore, proper form ensures you activate the right muscles that ultimately help you maximize and maintain your gains. Abide by the mantra of quality lifting over quantity of lifts, focus on maintaining the proper form and you will have done your part to avoid injury.