If you are over the age of 50, fitness is essential. It has a profound influence on your health and well being.
Beyond that, maintaining a healthy level of fitness can lengthen your lifespan. Not to mention it can also improve on your quality of life during that lifespan.
Depending on their age, the goals that people have very greatly. For this reason, many people think of strength training as something for bodybuilders.
Many people believe that if you are over 50, your strength training days are over. That a nice walk here and there is all you should have to do to stay in shape and living your best life.
But, this is not the case!
Strength training has many unique benefits for Baby Boomers. Now you may be asking, what exactly is it?
What is Strength Training?
At its core, strength training is using resistance to create muscular contractions. Your body then takes it as a signal to increase the size and strength of your skeletal muscles.
Strength training differs from cardio workouts though.
Muscle contraction is about strength resistance. Cardio is about elevating your heart rate for a certain period.
Now that we know what it is, we are going to give you some easy, practical tips for strength training. But first, let’s go over a few of the remarkable benefits that will be yours should you start working out.
Why Strength Training When You’re 50+
We could go on and on about the benefits that will come from strength training. It’s not all about getting a beach body or looking jacked. Many people who practice want to be fit and trim without the movie star body (although, if you can get it, that’s a perk!).
Let’s hit a few of the excellent benefits that come from strength training.
I don’t know anyone who would turn down a bit of extra energy. Strength training has a component of pushing your body past your comfortable limits. Your growth and endurance benefits. Which in turn means that you have more energy when your body is not working out.
Stronger Bones and Joints
There is the adage that if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it, and it applies to the fluid use of bones and joints in your body.
A good program will have you using your joints and bones in new and different ways. Which in turn will promote strength and growth in those areas.
Balance and Posture
Your body is a skeleton. Held together with ligaments and tendons, and articulated by muscles. If those muscles are weak, we will not be able to keep those bones in place. Strength training goes a long way in helping you maintain good posture and have good balance.
Our minds are one of the most important things that we own. You need to do all we can to maintain it for the future. Strength training has helps mental cognition.
Strength training reduces certain cardiovascular risk factors in older people. Heart disease is one of the leading problems that people are facing these days. Doing strength training is a great way to mitigate that risk.
Reduce Your Risk of Type II Diabetes
Do you need prevention or management of Type II diabetes? Strength training is a way to keep your body operating at peak performance.
The whole anti-aging thing may seem like a hyped “miracle pill.” But, studies have shown that strength training helps reverse mitochondrial gene expression.
Which means your cells go back to their more efficient days.
Boomer Fitness Tip #1 – Talk with the Experts
Don’t make large changes in your routine without first consulting with your doctor. You need to know your limits when going into something new like strength training. Taking this proactive step will go a long way in protecting you from injury.
Staying injury-free, you can maintain a regular exercise routine without interruption.
The other expert that you should consider talking to is a personal trainer. A certified personal trainer has put in a lot of time and effort to become an expert. They will be able to help you set smart goals and give you an attack plan for reaching those goals.
A trainer will be able to help ensure that you are performing the workouts right. No matter how long you have been doing strength training, your form is vital. You will be working hard and not getting results if you do not nail down your style right off the bat.
Boomer Fitness Tip #2 – Get Your Diet on Track
We have all heard that “we are what we eat.” Remembering this will help you achieve your goals. Strength training is way more effective when your diet is where it should be.
It will be demanding more from your body. You will have to provide your body with all the fuel that it needs to perform.
Some great workout foods to put on your shopping list include:
● Almonds & raisins
● Quality protein powder
● Sprouted Grains
Getting into a strength training is going to need you to up your intake of food in general.
Especially protein since that is what your body uses to build and repair your muscles. You may also want to investigate finding a good vitamin and mineral supplement.
Boomer Fitness Tip # 3 – Start Slow
Strength training for your generation is about living the kind of lifestyle you want to live. It is generally not going to be about getting on the front of GQ magazine.
For this reason, it is important to remember that you are not in a race with anyone. If you are new to strength training, you will need to allow your body time to adjust to these new strain on your body. Jumping in too hard, too fast is a guaranteed ticket to injury.
Consider starting with strength training on 2 or 3 days per week. Your body needs plenty of recovery time between workouts. Another option is to start with very light weights and work your way up over time. Don’t start with your max weight and try and go from there. If you are in it for the long haul, take your time and start slow.
Boomer Fitness Tip #4 – Hydrate and Replenish
It’s surprising how much water your body loses during a strength training workout. Since you may not be breathing quite as hard as you do during cardio, you may not feel as thirsty. But, that does not mean that your body does not need plenty of water.
Staying well hydrated has many other benefits than helping you complete your workouts. It improves your muscle recovery, reduce inflammation, and decreases soreness.
When you sweat, your body loses vital moisture. Not only that, it also loses salts and minerals that are necessary for your health. Avoid sugary sports drinks. An after-workout snack is a great way to replenish your body and give it the fuel it needs for a quick recovery.
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Boomer Fitness Tip #5 – Rest Is Your Friend
We already touched on this concept in Tip #3; but, it is important enough to emphasize it again here. Strength training is a new and different thing for your body.
The process of contracting your muscles under resistance
results in tiny tears in your muscle fibers. It is when your body repairs these small tears that your muscles grow and get stronger.
The only way that your muscles can make these necessary repairs is by resting your muscles for a period. The science is still out on exactly how long this period should be. But, most people agree that 48 hours is the right amount of time.
Boomer Fitness Tip #6 – Split Up Your Muscle Groups
For exercise purposes, most people group your body’s muscle groups into upper and lower. Upper being arms, chest, and shoulders. Lower being your glutes and legs.
You can isolate your muscles into even smaller groups. But, for beginners, the upper/lower split usually works well. A lot of people like to throw in the core group (being your mid and lower back and your abs) as well.
Whatever split works best for you will take some experimentation. Your individual goals also will come in to play. The point is to allow you to give one group a break while still working out during that break.
Splitting your workouts up based on muscle groups, will work out all your major muscle groups.
Boomer Fitness Tip #7 – Get the Right Rep Count
For those who are into serious bodybuilding, it is all about progressive overload.
It means completely maxing out your muscles capabilities to force them to the next level. Often, this means doing very few reps at a high weight.
If you want to focus on the health benefits of strength training, your reps are going to look different.
Like we talked about, you will want to start with a lightweight and work your way up. Your rep goal should be in the 12-15 range. You should not be lifting weights that you are unable to complete 12-15 reps.
What if you can’t do 12-15 reps with a certain amount of weight or resistance? Reduce your weight until you can hit the 12-15 rep range.
It’s as simple as that.
Boomer Fitness Tip #8 – Don’t Give Up
Get fit quick schemes litter the Internet and late night television ads. The cold hard truth is that it takes work, lots of hard work, to see the great results. As with pretty much anything worth doing in life, this fact of life applies in the realm of health.
Regardless of your starting point, chances are you will not see results as fast as you might like. But this is no reason to give up! Often, our bodies operate on a different schedule than we choose. Keep this in mind and do not let yourself get discouraged.
The biggest mistake that people make when they are reaching for a new fitness goal is giving up too soon. Dedication and tenacity will be your ally in this fight. The combination of the two has helped people achieve goals than anything else on the planet.
Remember to keep your eye on the prize. We talked toward the beginning of this article about setting smart goals.
Whentempted to skip a day or throw in the towel, remember why you are doing strength training in the first place!
Consider hiring a certified personal trainer.
You will have some financial skin in the game and will be more likely to stick it out. If you do not have a personal trainer, see if you can find a friend who would be willing to join you in your workouts.
This make workouts more fun and go by faster. Also help you stay on track, maintain consistency, and push yourself hard.
By now, you are 100% convinced and ready to give baby boomer strength training a try.
Your future is bright, and you can take control of your health and well-being. It will take some work; but, the rewards will make any investment well worth the effort.
Strength training is using weight and or resistance during muscle contractions.. Strength training is not only for bodybuilders, actors, and pro athletes. It has incredible benefits for anyone willing to invest the time into working out in this manner.
- Boosts your energy levels.
- Strengthen bones and joints.
- Improve balance and posture.
- Boost cognitive health.
- Improve heart health.
- Reduce your risk of Type II diabetes.
- Have anti-aging effects.
The most important things to remember when you are starting with strength training:
● Talk to the experts – both your doctor and a professional certified personal trainer.
● Give your body what it needs to thrive by getting your diet on track and staying well hydrated.
● Understand how to split up your workouts to maximize effectiveness.
● Start slow and remember to give your different muscle groups at least 48 hours to recover.
● Use the correct rep count to crush the goals you have in mind.
● Never give up!
Fitness is a very personal thing. Your goals are your goals. But we can all agree that fitness is vital to living life to the fullest.
As a Baby Boomer, there is no better time than now to get serious about your health.
Strength training is a a way to move yourself in the right direction for you, and your loved ones.
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