By Ron Krayewski
When it comes to keeping up with their fitness, many women stop training with weights once they hit 50. They’re more concerned with keeping the weight off, so they do activities such as walking and gardening to help them burn calories and pare off pounds. But I’m here to tell you that weight training is one of the most effective ways to trim your figure. Not only that, but weight training will perform anti-aging wonders on your body better than the most expensive anti-aging skin care regimes ever could.
Here are my top reasons why women over 50 should incorporate weight training into their fitness schedules.
1) Lose Weight
I’m going to bust one of the biggest myths you’ve ever been told, which is that doing cardio activity is the best way to lose weight. The truth is that strength training is superior to cardio for weight loss. Why? It’s true that cardio burns a lot of calories, but strength training builds muscle. Muscle burns calories faster than fat, so the more muscle you have on your body, the more calories your body will burn at all times, even when you’re sleeping. Plus, contrary to popular belief, weight training doesn’t make women bulky You would need to take steroids for that, which I definitely don’t recommend. After a couple months of weight training, you’ll have a trim and solid figure.
2) Keep the Weight Off
Cardio is exhausting and the extra energy required to do it often leads women to eat more during the day, cacnelling out their efforts and leading to giving up the regime and piling the weight back on. If, however, you weight train regularly, you will not only continue building muscle that burns fat but you’ll find that the weight stays off. When you experience victories such as being able to lift heavier weights and fitting into your skinny jeans, you’ll be encouraged to weight train even harder!
3) Regain Your Independence
As you age, you experience something called muscle wasting, which means that your muscles start to decrease in mass if you don't use them. In simple terms, use it or lose it. This is partly why so many older people end up in wheelchairs, with walkers, or unable to do the activities they once did with ease. Begin weight training, and you can turn back your body’s clock by at least 20 years or more! What could you do two decades ago that you’d love to be able to do now? Start weight training and you’ll see how much easier it becomes to do just about everything.
4) Strengthen Your Bones
Women who have gone through menopause are top contenders for osteoporosis, or bone loss. Studies show that strength training over a period of time can not only help prevent bone loss but also help build new bone. One study showed that women who weight trained for one year had significant increases in the bone density of the spine and hips, whereas women who do not weight train are likely to lose 50% of their bone mass by the time they’re 70.
5) Improve Your Balance
Seniors tend to fall far more than adults in their 30s and 40s. Why is this? It’s similar to the above point about regaining your independence: If you don’t use your stabilizing muscles, you lose them. Furthermore, reflexes also tend to be far slower in older people than younger. But strength training can help you regain the balance you once had, thus helping to prevent falls that can result in injuries.
6) Sharpen Your Brain
A slowing of brain function is expected as you age, but did you know that weight training can help counter these effects? A recent study in Canada showed that resistance training helped slow the onset of dementia in women over 70. Furthermore, exercise has been shown to increase the size of the hippocampus, thus improving memory and spatial reasoning.
7) Decrease Risk of Diseases
Your risk of disease increases with age, but you can bring it back down with weight training. Studies show that training with weights can reduce your risk of diabetes, colon cancer, high blood pressure, and arthritic discomfort. Not only can it help reduce your risk of getting these diseases, but if you already have them, it can help reduce the symptoms.
So, do you need any more convincing that weight training is the number one best alternative to anti-aging pills and creams out there? Give it a try for a few months and you’ll be amazed by the results. For pointers on how to get started, check out my senior strength training DVDs here: www.superseniorstrengthtraining.com.
Ron Krayewski, the editor of SuperSeniorFitness.com, is an expert in the field in senior strength training. As a personal trainer, he has helped hundreds of his clients achieve their fitness goals. In the 80s, he and his wife Catherine owned a chain of women's-only fitness clubs across North America called Catherine's Lady Fitness. Later, using his martial arts knowledge as a third degree black belt in karate, Ron started a free self defense class for women in Ontario, Canada called Nobody's Angel.
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