Weightlifting and the Art of Aging Well — As we continue the topic of movement as an essential part of aging well, we’d like to introduce the topic of weightlifting. This activity can help you to maintain muscle mass plus stronger bones.An image of a middle aged or senior man lifting a weight at the gym. Weightlifting.

First, forget about traditional weight training and consider recent findings that compared traditional weight training with a lighter weightlifting routine. Those who used lighter weights became as fit and strong as the heavy weightlifters. This is great news, as it means that you don’t have to lift super-heavy weights to do this exercise.

Reasons to include weightlifting in your plan

• Maintain muscle mass: Weightlifting can help maintain and even build muscle mass, rather than the natural muscle mass loss that happens as we age.

• Improve mobility: Improve your balance, coordination, and mobility, thus reducing the risk of falls with regular strength training.

• Increase bone density: Lifting weights can increase bone density and strength, which is crucial in combatting osteoporosis.An image of a middle-aged or senior man flexing his left arm and showing muscles with the beach and ocean behind.

• Boost metabolic rate: Increasing muscle mass through weightlifting can boost metabolic rate, as muscle tissue burns more calories than fat, even at rest.

• Enhance mental health: Improve your mood and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety with exercise – including weightlifting.

• Improve cognitive function: Regular physical activity, including weightlifting, can help maintain and improve cognitive function in older adults, according to studies.

Health risks of not exercising as we age

• Increased risk of chronic diseases, such as higher rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

An image of a middle aged or senior man with his fingers on his forehead as he looks down, sad or depressed.• Loss of independence, as seniors may experience a decline in their ability to perform daily tasks independently without regular physical activity.

• Decreased mental health, as physical inactivity, can lead to a greater risk of mood disorders like anxiety and depression.

• Reduced cardiovascular health can lead to increased blood pressure and decreased cardiovascular function.

• Accelerated physical decline, because not exercising can lead to faster deterioration of muscle strength, balance, and flexibility.

Life expectancy data regarding exercise

• Extended life expectancy: Engaging in leisure-time physical activity (like weightlifting) is associated with a life expectancy gain of up to 4.5 years.

• Reduction in mortality risk: Moderate to vigorous physical activity can lead to a 26% to 31% lower all-cause mortality and a 28% to 38% lower risk of cardiovascular disease mortality.

• Prevention of premature deaths: Small increases in daily exercise can significantly decrease the number of deaths per year, highlighting the importance of regular physical activity for longevity.

Be safe – speak with your physician

An attractive middle-aged couple is dancing in their kitchen and smiling at each other.Remember to always consult with your healthcare professional before you begin any new exercise program, including weightlifting. Schedule your appointment with a nutritionist-dietitian to ensure your food plan supports your lifestyle and health goals.

Dive deeper into this topic at the NIH.gov

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