Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Strength Training Into Old Age

Most people as they get older tend to do less, exercise-wise. “I’m not as young as I used to be”, “I’m not that fit any more”, and “It gets harder as you get older”…

The usual excuses arise, but the only quote that really comes into play here is “Use it or lose it”.

The less you move, the less you’ll be able to move. Your body adapts to the stresses imposed on it – basically meaning you can do the things you’re used to doing. When you stop doing something, your body will get weaker, tighter, stiffer etc.

Used to be able to do the splits? You didn’t wake up one day suddenly unable to do them… You stopped doing them, so your body adapted.

Used to be strong? You stopped using that strength and gradually your body realised it didn’t need it anymore, so it went.

Along with good nutrition, the most important thing you can do as you get older is stay strong; otherwise you’ll be the person who needs help getting out of a chair, struggles with stairs, or can’t open a bottle of water! It stands to reason: If you’re beginning to struggle climbing the stairs – practice climbing the stairs!

If you’re young, start and/or keep up your strength training, or you’ll regret it later on.

If you’ve already noticed an “age-related” (or really, lack-of-use-related) decline in strength or mobility, do something about it NOW. It’s never too late. Be sensible, but do something.

Yoga would be a great way to deal with mobility issues and you can start at any level/ability and work from there.

For strength (easily as important as any other aspect), the same applies. Can’t get in and out of a chair? Start with that! Gradually increase the difficulty of what you’re doing making the movements more complex, and gradually adding weight. Building your strength will not only keep you active and mobile, it’ll also keep you stable (less likely to fall), and make your bones stronger (less likely to break if you do fall).

People tend to think strength training is just for the young and fit, but it’s not; it’s for everyone – and if you don’t want to get stronger, you seriously need to re-think things. There’s no downside to being stronger!

You don’t have to lift huge weights (although as heavy as you can with good technique is a good way to go); even if you lift a light weight for 10 reps, if you increase that to 11 reps, you’ve increased strength. Then try 12, or 13… you see the pattern. If you can, increase the weight and start again! 

Never stop.

If you’re not working to get stronger, you’re getting weaker. How far will you let it go?

If you need more help, visit for information on Personal Training, Nutrition Coaching, and Bootcamp classes.