Are we ever too old to stop weight training? I’m reminded of when one of my clients brought in her 99-year-old grandmother because she wanted some help working on ‘her abs’. I loved the notion! She had no preconceptions that ‘her abs’ were off-limits because she was soon to be 100. What a great perspective! I realize that getting ‘abs’ at 100 may not be the focus of most centenarians but the idea that we should never stop working on our conditioning is crucial in terms of our vitality and longevity.
There is a wealth of evidence that weight training is relevant at all ages. I prefer the term ‘resistance training‘ to ‘weight training’ as the latter leads one to think of pushing heavy weight on a machine or using large dumbells. On the contrary, there are limitless ways of using our own bodies as resistance, without the need for much or even any additional weight. Everyday life involves various levels of demands that require us to use our bodies as resistance. Walking upstairs (especially two steps at a time!), picking up a laundry bin, navigating an icy sidewalk, carrying our groceries, getting off the floor, and perhaps the most important: getting off the toilet! It is inevitable that we will need to lift our bodies in some way and at varying degrees throughout the day and so we need to ensure we can handle the load! According to the NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association), 2019 guidelines:
“A properly designed resistance training program for older adults should include an individualized, periodized approach working toward 2–3 sets of 1–2 multijoint exercises per major muscle group, achieving intensities of 70–85% of 1 repetition maximum (1RM), 2–3 times per week.”
This is a mouthful, isn’t it? Essentially it means we need to perform resistance training a couple of times a week using all our muscles and on the heavier side so long as it’s safe to do so.
Maybe you are ready to start a program, no matter your age, or just need an update. We have you covered! Reach out to our fitness team today and let’s keep you training safely and effectively your whole life! Book a time with me or Crystal (our Athletic Therapist) for an individualized exercise program.