Last year, we featured Joan MacDonald, a woman from the UK who STARTED lifting weights at 70. As a result, she experienced significant health and wellness changes, including losing over 40 pounds and being taken off all of her prescription medications. Read more about Joan’s journey here!
Did Joan’s story inspire you? She shows that it’s never too late to start lifting weights, which can have profound health benefits for older adults! Whether an elderly person is living in a memory care community, assisted living, or an Alzheimer’s care community, strength training is an important part of a healthy lifestyle.
How to Start a Weight-Lifting Routine at Any Age
Lifting weights and building muscle will be beneficial at almost any age. A large body of research shows that from the teenage years until the end of life, building muscle will improve health outcomes. One interesting study took female participants from 60 to 65 and 80 to 89 years old through a 12-week explosive heavy resistance training program. Explosive resistance training means that participants were not just lifting heavy weights, but they were lifting heavy weights at high speeds. Please note that this was done in a controlled environment. Both groups showed significant improvements in multiple health markers and no negative side effects.
However, there are many things to consider if you’re an older individual wanting to start a new exercise routine:
- Consult With Your Physician: As with any new exercise protocol, it’s important to consult your doctor to make sure your new routine is appropriate for your current state of health. If your doctor suggests holding off, ask how you can get to a place where you can safely begin strength training.
- Start Slow!: Many studies show that resistance training is beneficial for older adults. However, you should focus on progressive training so you don’t overload. This means starting with a comfortable weight for completing a particular exercise. Every week, gradually build up the amount of weight you’re lifting. You won’t be able to make progress if you injure yourself in your first month of resistance training!
- Be Mindful of Cardiovascular Health: Strength training has multiple benefits for seniors with cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. It is important, however, to seek physician approval in conjunction with a new strength training routine. Chest pain and the inability to breathe normally are warning signs to stop mid-exercise and get medical attention.
- Warming-Up and Joint Health: For anyone lifting weights, especially as individuals get older, it’s vital to include a proper warmup at the start of every workout. Dynamic warmups are more effective than static stretching. CAR (Controlled Articular Rotation) workouts and warmups are fantastic for improving joint health and mobility and preventing injuries.
Top San Diego Memory Care Community
Independent and assisted living offer a chance for seniors to experience the joy of community and activity while not having to worry about the daily grind and upkeep of home life. At Mesa View Senior Assisted Living (and at our partner locations:Harbor View Senior Assisted Living, RanchView Senior Assisted Living, and BayView Senior Assisted Living), our highly competent staff work hard to provide personalized care to each member of our memory care communities.
MesaView Senior Assisted Living in La Mesa, California, is one of the top assisted living facilities in the greater San Diego area. We’re known for our compassionate caregivers, beautiful grounds, and individualized care. We consider it an honor to walk alongside families as they traverse the challenging and heartbreaking journey of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.