This post is not for you. You’re probably in your teens, 20′s or 30′s if I am guessing right. This is for your parents and grandparents and even for the annoying aunts and uncles whom you would love to see wriggle under the bar in the gym. Yes, this is about strength training for older population.
Indians often associate resistance training (it can be weightlifting, bodybuilding, powerlifting, bodyweight training etc) with the end goal of looking good and showing off muscles and in the process, people over 50 seldom take it seriously in India. Even the doctors suggest walking or at max. running as recommended physical activity for elders. But are lifting weights just really restricted to pumping biceps and chest or can it be beneficial for our elders too? We think it is almost as essential as eating clean and so is suggested by ample research, mostly on elder population. Check out these evidences to see for yourself:
- Strength training in older adults increases power, neural activity, muscle mass, energy expenditure and reduces difficulty in performing day-to-day tasks
- Resistance training recommended to frail obese (fat but weak) older adults on weight loss therapy
- Higher muscular strength associated with lower death rate
- Higher muscle mass associated with lower mortality in older adults
- Resistance training essential for active older adults to prevent muscle loss
As suggested by the last link, even if your old man runs, he may still benefit from resistance training just to keep up with his passion of running. Older people lose muscle as they age, even if they were not working out in their younger days. This phenomenon is called sarcopenia and can cause 0.5-1% muscle loss every year. For those who are still thinking “Yeah whatever, I’ll see what I can do when I get old”, sarcopenia starts as early as an age of 25.
For those who are convinced, you have a responsibility now. Go convince your elders to start training. Now, that’s a tough job!
More on a step by step guide for elders to training in a future article,
In Lucem Scientiam
Disclaimer: Ask your physician first if your elders are cleared medically to do strength training or not