The best kind of exercise for anyone – no matter what age and gender, is weight training.
The benefits range from gaining muscle, strengthening your connective tissue, and building your bone strength and balance.
Of course, many people will differ in opinion, classing cardio as the way forward. Cardio does serve, but it does not generate the hormonal response needed to build a better-designed and equipped body.
This is most apparent as we age when our mental clarity, strength and muscle tend to decline. What we want to do is increase our body’s efficiency, and lifting weights can no doubt help you achieve this. Here are some reasons why;-
5 reasons weights are your powerhouse exercise beyond 40+
One: You will maintain your strength and build muscle long-term.
The age-old principle for building and maintaining muscle is “use it or lose it.” If you are not working on building your muscle consistently, then expect to lose your strength capabilities.
Sarcopenia, which is the age-related decline in strength and muscle size, is mainly due to inactivity, not age-related. How do we explain people in their 60s and behind weight training and gaining muscle mass? It follows the principle of actually lifting weights 3–4 times per week in order to gain benefits.
It’s never too early or late for anyone, although it does help to start early on. Don’t waste any more time; start today!
Two: Better metabolism and body composition.
Building muscle undoubtedly increases your resting metabolic rate and allows you to generate the necessary hormonal responses that will trigger your fat-burning potential. Aerobic exercise like jogging or walking leads to prolonged muscle loss – long term, as it does not maintain musculature structure. You must overload muscles by performing activities you aren’t accustomed to.
This can be done by lifting weights or, perhaps, changing it up a little, performing forceful contractions, such as powerlifting and sprinting.
Fat gain is a result of becoming less and less sensitive to the hormone insulin, which encourages fat sales to store in the body instead of being used for energy.
This can lead to disease, inflammation and hardening of the arteries. The more incidental activity you undertake in your daily life, the better equipped your metabolism will become. Walking and light jogging does serve a purpose in between weight training but should not be used as the only form of activity you do on a week-to-week basis.
Three: Strengthening your bone density.
We lose our bone mass by about 1 per cent every year after age 30.
When women transition to menopause, they lose the most bone mass.
That doesn’t leave men quite out of the picture, as they, too, become susceptible to osteoporosis.
As you can imagine, this can link to fracture risk, which is detrimental to one’s health and quality of life as one ages.
Strength training provides constant bone overload, which builds your bone density without using drugs such as calcium supplements.
Exercise such as running and climbing stairs will indeed help slow down bone loss, but to really stimulate the building of bone density, you must overload the skeleton by doing movements aimed at the hip and spine you are not accustomed to.
This means movements like squats and overhead presses should be an essential addition to your training schedule. As you can suspect, it does take a relatively strong person to lift heavier volumes of weight.
The key progression strategy for beginners is to build strength slowly and over more extended periods, with proper form and execution. This can easily be achieved with the help of a personal trainer or fitness professional. Your adaptations to strength training and its benefits will naturally begin to occur almost immediately. The key is to be consistent and not give up too quickly!
Four: Training your brain to health as well.
It’s pretty disturbing how susceptible we all can become to degenerating cognition as we age.
But did you know that strength training and activity, in general, will help improve your understanding and reduce your risk of developing dementia?
Exercise provides the benefits of better memory, concentration, and retention of informative practice titles and has a protective effect, allowing for better metabolism of fat and glucose in the brain, and reducing harmful plaque build-up.
Although any exercise you do will help with this risk, it’s highly beneficial to prioritise your weight training above any other form of exercise.
Five: Better mental health and ability to handle stress.
Exercise seems to have a magical effect on hormonal balance, responses to stressors and the quality of your moods.
As we age, serotonin and dopamine decrease, making us more susceptible to depression. This is amplified because critical hormones such as testosterone and estrogen drop, causing us to become moodier and alter our body composition and even our sex drive.
All this dramatically impacts our confidence and how we feel about ourselves.
Leading a sedentary lifestyle can increase this negative response even further. Our bodies are not built for inactivity and do not function well without some form of exercise daily.
When you begin an exercise program, you will therefore stimulate the brain to regulate the release of the stress hormone cortisol and the hormones testosterone and estrogen. This results in better fat burning, increased muscle mass and cognitive function.
You will also increase your energy levels and become better equipped to handle stress and the natural challenges life brings