The idea of traditional weight training is one that many active people embrace and others avoid at all costs. When you look at the future of weight training for average people, you are starting to see subdual shifts in practice and methods.
The science around human physiology and the aging process is making new advances every year. These advancements are also bringing together a better understanding of how nutrition, hormones, and metabolic health have a more profound link to our exercise physiology. Exercise usually has some form of resistance exercise that ties to weight training. It's hard not to plan an exercise regimen without some weight lifting involved.
In just the last ten years, health and fitness professionals have come full circle on improving everything from food restriction, i.e., fasting, macro-nutrient management, proper levels of cardio, and kinetic chain strength training. For example, we now know 70 percent of your body composition can be tied back to our nutrition, too much cardio can lead to serious health problems and the heavier weight you lift, the risk of injury increases exponentially in weight training.
As we age, it is important to include weight lifting exercises. Muscle loss and skeletal weakness can start as early as your thirties as does hormone loss. Sedentary behavior and poor nutrition can jump start you on a fast track to adverse changes in muscle loss, bone density, and joint health. Strength training through weight and resistance training can help prevent these issues from occurring and even turn back the aging clock so to speak.
The question is, how much weight training and to what intensity should we be doing as we age? The trend depends on age, physical condition and the type of outcome you are seeking. For most of us who are just seeking good general health and physical conditioning, the trend in weight training is lifting with less weight, quickly with more repetitions and better form.
This approach is called metabolic resistance training and can deliver reliable results for people looking for strength and overall conditioning. Another trend shifting with weight training is a more regimented approach, mixing isolation exercise in between compound movement exercises with increased repetitions over heavier weighted low reps are becoming the gold standard. Older adults are finding these short duration, highly precise resistance movements are beneficial for building strength and avoiding injury.
With fundamental changes to weight training moving away from the age-old muscle gym approach of stacking on heavier weights after each set and long breaks between sets, it seems to have a more significant appeal for our aging population. Variations in metabolic resistance training tend to have a more natural feel with movement and function across our bodies physiology.
Since hormone changes can start as early as your mid-thirties in both men and women and these changes have a direct effect on your musculoskeletal systems, it is essential to monitor your levels. For men, the gradual drop in testosterone has an impact on muscle loss and development. For women, the aging process brings decreases in estrogen, androgen, and progesterone which can affect exercise recovery, injury and bone density. All of these aspects around hormones can be a factor with weight and resistance training.
Finally, proper nutrition is essential for muscle recovery and development. Eating a poor diet not only slows your fitness progress, but can lead to injury and chronic inflammation. Managing your macronutrients which consist of protein, carbohydrates, and fats is an aspect often overlooked when people start weight and resistance training. Muscles and connective tissue needs lots of protein and collagen. With the aging process comes a greater need for bodies to get enough protein. This demand for more protein is, in fact, higher then when we are young. Between the aging process, regular exercise and weight training, we can shortchange our body's macro-nutrients, so the need to maintain excellent nutrition plan is critical.
We need to lift weights and incorporate resistance training into our daily and weekly fitness activity. The older we get, it becomes essential to monitor our nutrition and hormones and build an exercise program that works for your total body. Lift lighter weights, more often with greater reputations to avoid serious injuries. Work on your form and function so you strengthen across muscle groups, connective tissue, and joints for the best lasting outcome.
A recognized health and wellness presenter, fitness trainer and now primal health coach in the Inland Northwest. Now in his eighth year of bringing health and wellness through his writing, teaching and coaching, Judd delivers his well-rounded message of mindfulness, nutrition and fitness to readers and clients alike.