Start strength training over the age of 60? Yes, we’re serious!

If you are a woman over 60 years of age, you’ve probably never thought about joining a gym to use their weights. Typically we picture young males pumping weights and counting their reps in that section of the gym. However an increasing number of experts agree that women need to start strength training to remain strong, healthy and independent as they age. So if you want your mum to be able to look after her grandchildren without getting tired, get her to sign up to a gym today and start counting reps with her!

Start Strength Training Because You Have To Use it or Lose It

Women start to lose lean muscle tissue once they hit the age of 30. That means if you don’t use it, you will lose it.  “Strength training is no longer about being buff or skinny,” says trainer Holly Perkins, author of Women’s Health Lift to Get Lean and founder of Women’s Strength Nation. “It’s as critical to your health as mammograms and annual doctor visits, and it can alleviate nearly all of the health and emotional frustrations that women face today. And it becomes even more critical once you hit 50.” Perkins goes on to say that: “There is a direct correlation between your health and the amount of muscle mass that you have. The more you build, the faster your metabolism hums, the tighter and firmer you get, and the easier it is to lose weight and keep it off.”

Why Strength Training?

start strength training, strength training, weights, resistance training, exercise for older womenCardio is good, and the evidence is clear that any regular exercise will reap you health benefits compared to if you are sedentary. However adding strength training into your weekly exercise routine will help you even more. Research has shown that there are a number of health benefits to stimulating and building strong muscles as you age. Having strong muscles is important for keeping healthy bones, reducing your risk of falls by improving your balance and being able to do basic everyday activities of life, such as lifting heavy grandchildren, carrying groceries or climbing stairs. Experts agree that regular strength training will help you reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and developing type 2 diabetes. Not only are these physical benefits enough to get you lifting weights but there is current research into the effect of strength training on your basic cognition and mood.

But I’m Not Strong!

You can lift more than you think! Rethink the stereotype – there are women in their 50s who can deadlift 100kg! Strength and conditioning coach Peter Bolsius has some at his gym. He wants to see more women in lifting barbells and in the gym doing strength training. “But we have to get past this ‘but it’s too heavy’ mentality,” he stresses. “It’s OK to lift heavy weights if you learn how to do it correctly. If you can deadlift properly then you can pick up heavy objects safely and lifting a heavy grandchild, for example, is no problem. It also means you’re accustomed to lifting – unlike someone with a sedentary lifestyle who’s likely to injure themselves if they try to lift or move something heavy,” he says.

The type of muscle fibre that strengthens can be stimulated at any age of life – so no matter if you’re in your 30s, 50s or 70s, or even 90s, you can benefit from strength training. Any woman can go to any gym and use their strength equipment, it’s just important to know what you’re doing first. Employ a Personal Trainer or a friend who knows how to safely lift and use the equipment. Here at AJ’s we would love to help you around and make you feel at home, because we want to see people be strong and healthy. We value people of all age – men and women. Weights equipment at a gym is actually the best place to start strength training if you are older as the machines do all the stability for you. This reduces your risk of injury as the machine controls the weights and you can gradually train your body awareness.

Start Strength Training at the Gym

There are some great machines to use at the gym. Ask our friendly personal trainers if they have these and how to use them. Aim for two to three sets of eight to 12 reps.

  • Seated Rows
  • Lat Pull-Down
  • Shoulder Press
  • Assisted Chin-Up
  • Leg Press

start strength training, strength training, weights, resistance training, exercise for older women

Strength Training at Home

If you are unable to get to a gym or you’re more of a home exerciser, then get out and buy a set of hand weights and try these exercises. Increase the size of your weights as the repetitions get easier to keep challenging yourself and get stronger. It’s harder to get good feedback on the quality of your exercises at home, so make sure you start slow and aim to have controlled movements before progressing. You can find out how to correctly perform these exercises at Prevention.

  • Squat to Chair
  • Reverse Lunge
  • Seated Overhead Press
  • Standing Calf Raise
  • Bent Over Row
  • Superman
  • Chest Fly
  • Dumbbell Pullover
  • Biceps Hammer Curl
  • Basic Ab

So whatever age you are, or whatever situation you are in, you can start strength training today. Get a friend involved for motivation and accountability and start strength training for life. Your body will thank you for it.

Contact us for a guided tour through our facilities, including our large gym, or grab a free, 5 day free trial. Or you can sign up online right now to become a member!