On Your Health

Check back to the INTEGRIS On Your Health blog for the latest health and wellness information for all Oklahomans, published three times a week.

Why Weight? Lifting Weights at Any Age

Stepping into a weight room can feel like entering a foreign land. Dumbbells, kettlebells and barbells can be intimidating. But incorporating light weight training into a fitness routine, especially for middle-aged adults, can help build lean muscle mass that is crucial to physical health as we age.

Don’t be scared of the weight room

Start simple: everyone in the weight room was a beginner once. To help you get started, take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the machines or ask an attendant to give a quick tutorial. If anything, head over to the weight rack and grab a pair of low-weight dumbbells. No gym membership? No problem. Dumbbells and kettlebells are great for at-home workouts and easy storage.

Keep your weight routine simple

You don’t have to lift heavy weights for weightlifting to be effective. When beginning a weight training regimen, it’s best to start slowly, with smaller weights, to help prevent injury. Middle-aged adults, especially aging women, can benefit from low- or moderate-weight exercises to help combat bone density loss and decreasing muscle mass. Here are five simple exercises you can try at home with smaller weights:

Bicep curl
Triceps extension
Weighted squat
Bent row
Weighted calf raise

Building lean muscle is crucial

In adulthood, lifting weights is less about appearance and more about building healthy muscle mass. Loss of bone mass is a common health issue for aging adults, but after the age of 35 to 40, our bodies can lose muscle mass as well, which causes issues with metabolism, frailty and the ability to recover from injury. Regular weight training exercises offer a variety of benefits, from strengthening connective tissue and increasing bone density, to increasing your metabolic rate, improving balance, and even improving sleep.

Getting into a weight routine can be a challenge, but adding just a few simple exercises either at home or at the gym can have a significant positive effect on your overall health. The YMCA Healthy Living Center at INTEGRIS offers weight facilities and dozens of weekly classes, with individualized instruction available and the guidance of a friendly staff. For more information about how to stay physically fit at every age, check out our Stages of Life archives.

stages of life infographic

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