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It Pays to Lift Weights

Regardless or your age, lifting weights is quite important.

Between the ages of 20 and 50 most healthy adults have a fixed amount of muscle mass. At around the age of 50, it begins to diminish. At the age of 80, sedentary people have only about 60 percent of their muscular strength that they had as a younger adult. In fact many of our elderly have trouble picking up 5 pounds much less getting out of chairs or off and on the toilet.

While nothing can completely stop age-related loss of muscle, weight lifting comes close. People who use resistance training in their 50's, 60's and 70's have more muscle mass than people the same age who don't. There is no reason that a 60 or 70 year old can not be as muscularly fit as a 30 year old. Weight training also has been shown to slow loss of bone mass.

It is never too late to start a weight program. Here are some tips:

  • Get the advise of a personal trainer if possible to help you set up a program for you and monitor your progress periodically.

  • Weight train 2 to 3 days a week (rest a day or two between workouts). If you want you can still workout daily, just focus on different muscle groups.

  • Start slowly, as your body gets stronger and used to this sort of activity, add weight slowly.

  • Consider using free weights as well as machines. Both strengthen muscles, but free weights can improve balance which tends to worsen with age.

  • Understand that the expectation in not for bulging muscles but for improved strength and muscular retention.

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