I like weight training over 50. I like weight training over 60, and the guys at my YMCA who are in their 80's call me "young blood". I would have thought that by the time I was 61, I would be past the time I would be teased about my relative youth.
Lifting is a wonderful tonic for the confidence, and the addition of women to the weight room is a boon to the weary eyes in my head.
Weight lifting has some real benefits to our physical and mental health, including the fitness of our brain.
More on that later, but resistance training can keep your muscle mass, according to Elizabeth Quinn, at About.com. (link below)
"However, it is the only type of exercise that can substantially slow, and even reverse, the declines in muscle mass, bone density, and strength that were once considered inevitable consequences of aging.
Unlike aerobic, or endurance, activities, which improve cardiovascular fitness and require moving large muscle groups hundreds of times against gravity, weights provide so much resistance that muscles gain strength from only a few movements. Resistance is usually provided by free weights or machines, but individuals can also get stronger by exercising in water.
People shouldn't experience pain while lifting weights, but it's normal to feel some soreness the next day. Experts believe that as muscles are challenged by the resistance of a weight, some of their tissue breaks down; as the muscles heal, they gradually increase in strength and size.
Although muscles should be worked until they are fatigued, common sense will dictate when it's time to stop. If you feel joint or nerve pain, or are putting a tremendous amount of strain on any part of the body, you're probably going overboard and can harm yourself.
Because strains, sprains, and tissue damage can take weeks or even months to heal, preventing injury should be a priority. Although many older people who are inactive but want to get moving may think that a pair of walking shoes is a wiser investment than a set of weights, the opposite may actually be true, say fitness experts.
People who have been sedentary for long periods are at high risk for falls because their muscle tone is weak, flexibility is often limited, and balance may be precarious. To reduce the risk of falls and injury, people over 60 who haven't recently been active should begin by doing some resistance training for 2 to 3 weeks.
Believe it or not, I am actually lifting more weight in some exercises than I did when I was a kid trying to make the Illinois State University football team.
That seems really remarkable, and it seems remarkable that I can skip rope the way I do, or walk down the rail road tracks and sustain my balance.
Of all the things I do at the YMCA, walking on the tracks, to practice my balance, important at 61, that is the behavior that folks talk to me about..
I have gotten better, and most folks will report that "they used to be able to do that..."
What I like best is being able to keep my almost 11 year old son still contained.
He is aching for the day when he will be stronger than I am, and I am telling him that he is supposed to get bigger and stronger than I and I indicate that his getting bigger and stronger is something I am looking forward to, but in the mean time, you are all mine, child, and I tickle him mercilessly.
I am amazed at my wife's comments to. She really notices when my muscle mass slips. I actually urge all my counseling clients to workout also.
In fact, she urged me to get the More Love, Less Fat exercise program from Scott and Angie Tousignant, who have put together a program that couples can use together, which involves equipment like an exercise ball and dumbells, but leaves you panting and sweating.
Please check out The Aesthetic Muscle Plan, and book, More Love, Less Fat, by Angie and Scott Tousignant.
Actually, their program is very adaptible to where you are and to what level of intensity you want to use, the point being you can do a very healthy workout in 10 minutes using their HIIT or high intensity interval model.
Another benefit? I mentioned in the first paragraph that lifting over 50 has some mental benefits, and those benefits include enhancing two recently discovered capacities that your brain has, called neurogenesis, and the other is neuroplasticity.
It turns out that we grow new brain cells every day, which is the neurogenesis. Until about 10 years ago, no one knew we could do this. Not sure about you, but I want to grow as many new brain cells as I can.
To keep those brain cells though, I need to challenge them with novel learning experiences like computerized brain fitness programs, or by learning a new language, or by learning a new musical instrument.
Whatever the learning is, it must increase in challenge level and good feedback.
I am not going to learn a new language at this stage of my life, and I do not have time to dedicate to a new instrument, but I can do computerized brain fitness programs, because I am online all day.
The research on the whole concept of brain fitness and how to get it or sustain it is laid out very well in the book Brainfit for Life written by Simon Evans,Ph.D. and Paul Burghardt,Ph.D.
Please do not be intimidated by Ph.D. Their book is written for those of us who want to age well, and they go into great detail to lay out for us the benefits of taking care of what they call the "pillars of brain fitness" and it turns out the most important pillar is physical activity/exercise, which really boosts our new neuron growth, and our capacity for neuroplasticity, or forging new connections between neurons, which forms a cognitive reserve of connections which gives the brain pathways for signals to travel around "potholes of the brain".
The other pillars are nutrition, including getting enough omega 3 fatty acid DAILY for neuronal health, sleep, stress managemnt, and the novel learning experiences mentioned above.
The research backing up the Mind Sparke Brain Fitness Pro says that you benefit continues to grow as you practice. Read that again, and start to practice.
I love the Mind Sparke because it has helped me learn to focus my ADD brain for longer periods on one task. Technology has provided some benefit for me even at age 61.
When I was beginning my personal growth journey, a wise person told me that when I was feeling resentful or afraid or sad, that I should remember the phrase "gratitude is the attitude" when I was ready to feel better. That phrase has helped me feel better tens of thousands of times.
Would you share what you are most grateful for? Your story could be just what another person is searching for to renew themselves? Thanks.
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