If you’re a regular reader of ETNT Mind+Body, you know that we’re enormous fans of strength training at any age, but we’re really big proponents of hitting the weight room as you get older. After all, once you reach the age of 35, you start to lose anywhere from 3 to 5% of your body mass every decade. As Melina Jampolis, MD, recently explained to us, by the age of 80, many people can expect to have lost roughly 30% of their muscle mass.
What’s the best way to off-set that loss of muscle mass? You guessed it: Engaging in strength training. Additionally, as we reported recently, lifting weights is also the single best exercise for slimming down in your post-50 years.
Whether you’re lifting weights or incorporating bodyweight exercises on your walks, performing resistance exercises is crucial for building muscle and burning fat in your 40s, 50s, and beyond. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all adults should do some form of strength training two times per week in addition to 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise.
But if you’re still not convinced on the benefits of hitting the weight room, take it from one top trainer based in the United Kingdom. Joanna Dase, the COO of Curves Europe, an international fitness franchise, recently told The Daily Mail the exact exercises that people in every decade should be performing for the sake of their bodies. Her answer for the over-50 crowd? Read on for what it is. And for more great exercise advice, don’t miss the Secret Side Effects of Lifting Weights for the First Time, Says Science.
Dase says that people in their 50s should stop focusing on what they used to do in the gym and start focusing more on getting attuned to their bodies and any problem areas. “Really listen to your body, paying extra attention to areas that are weak or causing problems,” she told The Daily Mail. “This could be anything from tight spots, muscular imbalance, lack of flexibility or mobility. The key is to maintain the right techniques, activity, strength training and flexibility. But really listen and respect your body.”
She says that strength training is best for people in their 50s, though she advises you to focus specifically on your hips and your core. “This has been proven to visibly slow the aging process,” she says. Also, she advises you to supplement your strength training with cardio “by daily walking,” noting that “this is a great way to trim the midsection.”
“Now is the time to take your flexibility and balance program seriously, with daily stretching and focused breathing every day for 10 minutes,” she says. “In total, aim for 30 minutes total workout a day.”
Want a great core exercise? See here for that. Curious about a great stretching program? Consider this Amazing 10-Minute Stretching Routine.
We couldn’t agree more with her recommendation of combining strength training and light cardio such as walking. The walking will help you recover, de-stress, and help you burn fat on days in which you’re not lifting.
But weightlifting is the key—and it might just extend your life. One study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research concluded that our risk of death by any cause increases dramatically among older adults (65+) with little muscle mass in their arms and legs. The findings were particularly extreme among women. According to another study published in Preventive Medicine, older adults that lift weights twice per week show a 46% lower mortality rate in comparison to those who do not.
Furthermore, you’ll have a stronger heart, lower high cholesterol risk, stronger bones, and it’ll even help you kick bad habits. A study published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research found that a group of smokers attempting to quit were twice as likely to succeed if they participated in a weight training program.
Whether you’re an old pro or you’re new to the weight room, here are some amazing workouts you can try now: