You Are Not Too Old and it is Not Too Late

Hello again fans.

Following on from last week’s post about why everyone should resistance train, we’re now going to start taking a more in depth look at how the principles of strength work can be applied to specific groups, and what the benefits are.

I’m starting with the more senior population, mainly because I often hear “Oh I’d love to do that, but I’m too old for it now,” and also because the benefits of training into old age actually cross over nicely into why you should really start whenever you can.

First of all, let’s define what I mean when I say the senior population. For the purposes of this post, I’m talking broadly about 65 plus. You might think it sounds ridiculous to be lifting weights into your 70’s, 80’s and beyond, but let me tell you it can be, and is, done. Just this week, I have had the pleasure of starting work with two new clients. One is approaching 70, one already in their mid-70’s. Both have similar goals: to move better and be stronger.

How that goal will be approached in our sessions will differ, because personal training looks different to everyone, but being able to move well and without pain in your advancing years is a very good goal to have. No one wants to feel old, and when your body is aching, or doesn’t move as well as it once did, it lowers your confidence and self-esteem. Very often this can have a knock-on effect too, making you more sedentary, less inclined to go out and socialise, and to seek comfort in food or alcohol.

Aging is associated with a number of functional declines that can contribute to frailty, disability, an increase in trips and falls and, ultimately, a loss of independence. But resistance training is proven to be one of the best ways to combat these weaknesses, since it helps preserve (and even build) muscle mass, increase bone density, protect against osteoporosis and keep joints mobile. It’s also one of the best ways to protect against many medical conditions that become more prevalent as we age, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and arthritis. In short, resistance training is proven to “delay the process of ageing and its associated problems.” 

Resistance training doesn’t have to mean hours in a gym, either. Studies have shown that effective results can be gained in a variety of ways, from a supervised group exercise class, to home workouts, and more. The key point here, is to find the type of training that will most benefit you. This is where an initial consultation with a PT is helpful. Most PT’s won’t charge for this, and it could really help you make the right decision on what’s best for you. The important factors to look for in any resistance training programme for the senior population are as follows:

A full body workout: Does the programme or class you wish to follow work all of the major muscle groups (legs, chest, back, arms, core)?

Activities of daily living: Does the programme replicate activities of daily living? For example, are squats included, replicating the pattern of sitting into a chair and standing? Are there overhead moves, mimicing reaching into a cupboard, a push move (doors), a carry move (grandchildren, or shopping bags), and so on.

Progression: Does this programme or class give you the opportunity to progress? ALL good trainers and instructors will write a programme that allows for progression, otherwise you’ll stagnate! Can you lift heavier weights, do more reps, or try different exercises?

Suitable training: Is your PT or instructor suitably qualified to work with you? Do you have any medical or physical conditions that might require specialist knowledge?

Above all, don’t be afraid to ask! If you’re not sure what’s out there, or where or how to start, drop me a message and I’ll be happy to help. Nothing makes me happier than helping people on the path to feeling happier and healthier.



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