Great news, fellow lifters. Your training will not only improve your overall health and provide you with incredible strength and mass gains – it will give you a longer life to enjoy those benefits as well!
In the modern society, most of the people tend to lack the skills of aging well – the unhappy mix of bad food choices, sedentary office jobs and piles of mismanaged emotional stress comes with an awful price that is usually felt a lot stronger in the latter decades of life. General life dissatisfaction and a number of painful chronic conditions are just the tip of the iceberg. What about the risk of developing life-threatening diseases that are known to lurk around unhealthy lifestyles, year by year, day by day? If you spend a lifetime treating your body poorly, don’t be surprised when it stabs you in the back at old age. Actually, you should thank it for not giving up on you a lot earlier.
A new longitudinal study from Penn State College of Medicine informs us that strength training can increase your longevity, especially if you keep continually practicing it as you age. The researchers examined people in their 60’s about their exercise habits and preferences and then tracked them for the next 15 years – thus losing nearly a third of the original number of participants, who died in that period of time. That being said, the almost 10 percent of subjects who did strength training were 46% less likely to die during the study. Additionally, this study has shown that strength training can reduce the risk of death by 19% even among a population of subjects with common health risk factors like drinking and smoking, and suffering from chronic conditions such as hypertension.
According to the author of the study, Jennifer Kraschnewski, M.D, strength training enables you to live a longer, healthier life by keeping you physically active, improving your balance, strengthening your muscles and increasing your bone density. The last one is crucial for preventing bone fractures, which are infamously detrimental to the health of older people. And finally, training helps you maintain a healthy weight, which in turn will lower the risk of developing many diseases associated with obesity.
If you’re already into strength training, good for you. If you want to try it out for the first time, it’s never too late. But if you’re middle-aged or beyond and have led a relatively inactive lifestyle up to now, you might benefit from consulting your doctor first, and then finding a suitable personal trainer.
By age 50, about ten percent of your muscle mass is lost – after that, the rate of loss significantly speeds up and by age 70 you could experience a great loss of strength, stamina and the ability to function independently.
Yet, it doesn’t have to be that way. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, older adults can make significant gains in strength and a decent increase in muscle size in only a few months of regular training. Start slowly and progress in a gradual manner – any type of exercise can be adjusted to your needs and abilities. With a bit of caution and persistence, anyone can significantly improve their health, well-being, and longevity.
Start now and give yourself the chance to become the best version of yourself!