Am I too old to lift weights?
For a long time, lifting heavy weights was seen as a young man’s game. For some reason, one needed to be 25 and have a body like Hercules to step foot in a gym. Thankfully times are changing and the research behind weightlifting has grown exponentially. The question of being ‘too old’ or ‘too big or small’ to lift weights has been answered with a resounding ‘Everyone should lift!’.
So now we know that everyone should lift, the new question is: why? The best answer, in my opinion, is longevity. How long do you want to play with the kids or grandkids for? Do you want to be able to throw them over your shoulders for years to come? Or do you enjoy going for long walks and enjoy the views along the way? Lifting weights can help with all of these and many more.
When we lift weights - or do any exercise, for that matter - we put our body under stress. The amount of stress varies depending on the intensity and length of time which we perform it. It’s crucial to clarify that stress isn’t a bad word and putting your body under higher levels of physical stress isn’t a bad thing, in fact it can be the opposite. Within biology, Wolff’s law and Davis’ law are two similar principles both saying that by stressing a bone or soft tissue (muscle, ligament etc) these will adapt and become stronger over time to deal with the increased load. The opposite also happens when we reduce the load on a tissue. Research has shown that resistance training can reduce rate of age-related bone density loss (osteopenia) and muscle mass loss (sarcopenia), both of which can lead to a reduction in quality of life, if pronounced.
The takeaway is by doing more exercise, gradually and carefully, and more strenuous exercise at that, in time your body will become stronger and be able to cope with higher demands. Obviously, if you have an underlying medical condition, or are just unsure, you should consult a healthcare professional who can help you.
An important point a lot of people miss is that to increase the stress on our bodies, one doesn’t need to be going 100mph or sweating buckets. Simply work harder than normal! If you aren’t used to exercising at all, taking up walking, swimming, or cycling is a great way to get started. If you have joined a gym, ask for help and advice - there will always be someone willing to help and it’s much more important to lift intelligently than to look good in the gym. You have to start somewhere, right?
If you are willing to get going but are maybe suffering with pain, please get in touch to arrange an assessment with one of our highly trained Chiropractors. They will be able to guide and even prescribe suitable exercises, as well as advise when it is safe for you to get started.