You Are Never Too Old To Start Strength Training.

Updated: Mar 10



Do you strength train? If not, I hope what I share with you today may inspire you to start. Beyond a doubt, the research supports that it is never too late to reap the benefits of strength training.


Even if you start with just 5 minutes twice a week and slowly build, over time, this will increase your metabolism, help you live longer and have a much better quality of life. I just turned 62 and there’s a lot of things I wish I did differently when I was younger, but one thing I DON'T regret is the time I’ve dedicated to strength training. It’s not an activity I love, but the benefits are so worth it. Strength training has helped me avoid surgeries, kept me strong and keeps my weight stable. Most importantly, even though I'm prone to osteoporosis, I’m still in the clear. The older you get, the more critical strength training becomes, but so many people think that the older they get, the less reason there is for them to start. Whether you're 5 or 75 you deserve to feel and look your best.

The research demonstrates that it is never too late to increase your resting metabolism and start reversing the effects of aging.


Studies conducted in nursing homes have shown that people in their 80s and 90s gained on average 2.42 pounds of lean muscle in just 8 weeks consisting of 2 strength training sessions a week (1). This may not sound like much, but it is. These individuals had chronic diseases and limited mobility and in just 8 weeks gained muscle strength and mobility in both upper and lower limbs. (2) (3) If elderly, compromised individuals can gain that much muscle mass in just 8 weeks, I’m confident you can too.

WHY STRENGTH TRAINING IS SO IMPORTANT


In your thirties, you start to lose muscle and bone mass. After the age of 50, both men and women may lose up to 10 pounds per decade. Less muscle means a slower metabolism.


This means your body needs less calories to carry out the same daily functions as it did when you were younger. Most people don’t eat less as they age and the result is increased weight gain, which is a further health risk. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn even while you sleep.


Less muscle and bone mass also puts you at a much higher risk for falls. Studies show that people 70+ are three times as likely to die from low level falls than people under 70. (4)



HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU NEED TO SPEND TO GET BENEFITS?


  • You can gain muscle mass with 2 strength training sessions per week of 20 to 30 minutes, but you can start with 5 and slowly build up.

  • You’ll need 48 hours for your muscles to recover and it is during the time of recovery that your muscles get stronger. This means it's better to space out your strength training sessions and not do them on consecutive days.


I am so passionate about the positive effects of strength training and I've created a workout to help you..


Not only will this routine address strength, but there’s also a cardio and core component to it. You can choose to incorporate strength, cardio and core or just focus on one priority.


If you are really short on time, then complete just one cycle which is 6 minutes. When you add the warm-up and cool-down, the total time you need is 12 minutes. If you can’t find 12 minutes to exercise then you have much bigger problems. If you do have more time, you can add more cycles, but you don’t need to go beyond 30 minutes to improve muscle strength and get a great calorie burn.

Keep mixing up the exercises for variety. Less boredom equals more commitment.



HOW MUCH WEIGHT SHOULD YOU USE?


Use weights when performing the strength exercises. To gage how much weight to use, figure out approximately your maximum resistance, or the most weight you can lift in one repetition.

Use about 75% of your maximum resistance. For example, if you can do a 20 pound bicep curl once then use 15 pounds of weight for your bicep curls. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3117172/#:~:text=Results,and%20increasing%20their%20firing%20rate.



Start with a 3 minute warm-up, followed by the number of cycles you have time for. Each cycle is 6 minutes. End with a 3 minute cool down.



Remember, the more muscles you use, the more calories you burn so pick full body movements whenever you can. Always think of safety first and choose exercises that are appropriate for your fitness level. I’ve given some examples of exercises, but you can substitute with your favorites.


Each exercise is performed for 30 seconds before you move on to the next exercise. Use a stopwatch and stay true to the time.


This means you are moving constantly. If you start to get tired, tell yourself “I only have to do this for 30 seconds. I can do anything for 30 seconds.”

Keep up the intensity and you WILL see results.



THE DETAILS:


The only rest you take is the time it takes to set up for the next exercise.



Warm-up - 3 minutes.

The idea with any warm-up is to get blood pumping to your muscles to prepare you for the work to come with less chance of injury. Don’t skip this step. If you are short on time, it’s better to take time away from the more intense part of your workout than the warm-up. Choose any activity that will help you warm up, like skipping, jumping jacks, incline walk on treadmill, walking up and down the stairs, marching in place. You can stick to the same activity for the 3 minutes or change it up.


CYCLE ONE


Strength - 3 minutes

Perform 3 strength exercises for 30 seconds each then repeat the circuit. Use weights when you can. If you don’t have weights, use soup cans or any other household product that is safe to use. Choose a level that is appropriate for your level of fitness. For example, a plank can be done from your knees or for an advanced person from your toes. Same with pushups.

exercise 1: 30 seconds forward lunge + bicep curl

exercise 2: 30 seconds push-up

exercise 3: 30 seconds squat with row

Repeat the same 3 exercises again for 30 seconds each, then move right into cardio.


Cardio - 2 minutes

2 exercises performed for 30 seconds each then repeat the circuit. These can either be done at low or high impact.


exercise 1: 30 seconds high knee lifts

exercise 2: 30 seconds jumping jacks


Repeat the same 2 exercises again for 30 seconds each, then move right in to core.


Core - 1 minute

1 exercise performed for 30 seconds, slight pause then again for 30 seconds.


exercise 1: 30 seconds basic plank


If you choose to end here be sure to include a cool-down.


CYCLE TWO

Strength - 3 minutes

Perform 3 strength exercises for 30 seconds each then repeat the circuit.


exercise 1: 30 seconds forward lunge + bicep curl

exercise 2: 30 seconds push-up

exercise 3: 30 seconds squat with row


Cardio - 2 minutes

2 exercises performed for 30 seconds each then repeat the circuit.


exercise 1: 30 seconds mountain climbers

exercise 2: 30 seconds run on the spot


Core - 1 minute

exercise 1: 30 seconds each side side plank


CYCLE THREE

Strength - 3 minutes

Perform 3 strength exercises for 30 seconds each then repeat the circuit.


exercise 1: 30 seconds step-ups (use stairs, a bench)

exercise 2: 30 seconds bowler lunge

exercice 3: 30 seconds squat jumps


Cardio - 2 minutes

2 exercises performed for 30 seconds each then repeat the circuit.


exercise 1: 30 seconds invisible jump rope

exercise 2: 30 seconds burpees


Core - 1 minute

1 exercise performed for 30 seconds, slight pause then again for 30 seconds.


exercise 1: 30 seconds glute bridge march




CYCLE FOUR

Strength - 3 minutes

Perform 3 strength exercises for 30 seconds each then repeat the circuit.


exercise 1: 30 seconds deadlift

exercise 2: 30 seconds bowler lunge

exercise 3: 30 seconds plyometric squat


Cardio - 2 minutes

2 exercises performed for 30 seconds each then repeat the circuit.


exercise 1: 30 seconds stairs (run or walk)

exercise 2: 30 seconds lateral shuffle


Core - 1 minute

1 exercise performed for 30 seconds, slight pause then again for 30 seconds.


exercise 1: 30 seconds superman pose



5. Cool-down - 3 minutes

With a cool-down, you want to gradually lower your heart rate. Don’t use static stretching. You want to be sure you are moving your body. Examples include walking and yoga sequences.


Remember that exercise isn’t always comfortable but you need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable to get the results you want.


Here’s another option for a full body strength workout:




We can’t get faster as we age, but we can certainly get stronger.