There are many factors involved in maintaining good physical and mental health. One of the most important things to consider as you grow older is exercise. Exercise not only keeps you feeling and looking younger, but physically, it can also slow down the aging process. And while exercise comes in many forms, strength training can be where the true anti-aging effects occur.
Building muscle mass sounds like you are making yourself bigger, but this is exactly the opposite of what strength training does. Those who lift weights end up with bodies that are tighter and more compact, as muscle is more compact than fat. Being stronger also means you can stay independent and strong for life’s daily activities such as carrying groceries, lifting grandchildren, moving boxes or engaging in fun things like golf or traveling.
Women lose up to 5% of their lean muscle tissue per decade, starting in their 30s—and that number increases after 65. There is a direct correlation between your health and the amount of muscle mass that you have. The more muscle you build, the faster your metabolism works, the tighter and firmer you get, and the easier it is to lose weight and keep it off. It also decreases your risk for diabetes, osteoporosis, stroke, heart disease, and makes you less likely to fall or become injured.
Something amazing seems to mentally happen when you reach for a heavy object and can lift it. For our entire lives women have been told to rely on men for their strength to move items for us or open the lid on a jar. It is incredibly empowering to be able to be independent and do these things for ourselves. To feel powerful is a huge confidence builder, and the mental benefits of this accomplishment are monumental as well. It is time for women to feel their power and get strong.
Here are some of the top mental and physical barriers that many women suffer from and therefore don’t take the first steps to start strength training routines.
1. The gym is intimidating– Yes it can be very intimidating to walk into the weight room with folks that have big muscles and know all the equipment. We don’t like to feel intimidated, so try searching out gyms or local recreational centers that feel more comfortable to you and your age range. Once you find a place that isn’t intimidating, consider getting trained by a qualified personal trainer so that you will feel comfortable with the equipment and have a custom workout routine with specific goals that you can achieve.
2. Injuries– Fear of injury is another frequent barrier to weight training. That’s a very reasonable concern if you don’t know what you’re doing. To minimize the risk, check with your physician first if you have a health condition that may affect your ability to exercise. Then sign up for some sessions with a qualified personal trainer who has expertise in your age range. The main reason why an injury would occur is improper form, so proper form needs to be the goal with every exercise you do.
3. Lack of Motivation– I think everyone can agree that working out is exactly that, it’s work. Getting and maintaining internal motivation is a very personal and mysterious concept. Nobody can tell you to work out and truly keep you motivated, this must come from within. Improvement in health and weight loss are good motivators, but a great way to keep motivated to continue to strength train is physically seeing and feeling the results. There is something magical about gaining strength and muscle that is very empowering and self-motivating.
4. Time– Working out must be a huge priority in your life or else it will become too easy to skip it. There are however some innovative businesses to help people balance their busy schedules and working out. Mobile personal training is becoming more popular where a personal trainer will come to your house or workplace avoiding the need to travel to a gym. There is also online personal training where the personal trainer is coaching you via videos and exercise software that can be very convenient for busy schedules. If your schedule is extremely hectic then perhaps a home gym would be a good option. You don’t have to have a lot of equipment to have an effective home gym.
In conclusion, there are many benefits to strength training after 55. One of the most powerful benefits is seeing and feeling yourself getting stronger. There is such confidence to be gained by this, not to mention the common health benefits that most of us are aware of but health factors alone are not always the most effective internal motivator to keep you motivated. Find a place that is comfortable for you, attain professional guidance and watch yourself gain strength, form and confidence.