As most of my readers know, I'm a self-proclaimed “gym rat”.

Meaning I have a healthy addiction to working out lifting weights and six days per week you'll find me at the Kelowna Family Y in Rutland. I, along with the rest of the “morning tribe” show up regularly to begin the day with some good old fashioned heavy lifting. And believe it or not, sometimes more than half of the members I see in the mornings are seniors who lift. There are many benefits for people of all ages to include weight-bearing activities in their day to day, but it's especially important as we age. Training research and writer, Nicholas Rizzo of Run Repeat shared a wealth of information directly geared towards seniors which he has graciously allowed me to share here.

Seniors who regularly use weight training and even those who are new to the idea can all see benefits and improvements in various areas of their overall health, strength and well being. Rizzo sites a total of 78 areas backed by science and studies that seniors can gain benefit in by adding weight training workouts or weight-bearing exercises to their lives. I've listed 20 of those benefits here.

1. Combats age-related muscle loss and sarcopenia 2. Increases overall strength 3. Improvements in overall endurance and lung capacity 4. Enhanced energy 5. Higher levels of hemoglobin in blood 6. Allows for greater delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles 7. As little as one to three sets three times per week increases muscle mass and reduces body fat 8. Improves overall functional independence and quality of life for those already suffering muscle loss or sarcopenia 9. Decrease in intra-abdominal fat 10. Increases metabolism 11. People already at risk for heart disease and with increased muscle mass have a lower mortality risk 12. Adding muscle can reduce physical age by average of five years 13. Improves balance and joint flexibility 14. Reduces general aches and pains 15. Improves mental, emotional and cognitive health 16. Women may experience up to 50 percent reduction in urinary incontinence 17. Increased bone density 18. Improves blood pressure and lowers cholesterol 19. Weight training outperforms aerobic exercise in overall glycemic control in adults with type-2 diabetes 19. Improved quality of sleep 20. Improved muscle function and symmetry in adults recovering from hip fractures  **Read entire article here**

As you can see from even just this shortened list, science, along with the people in the studies, are showing that we need to not only stay active as we age, but continue to do some heavy work. From a heath and longevity perspective, thinking about taking it easy in retirement should mean something like stopping for a rest to enjoy the view when you get to the top of the hill you've been hiking. Or being able to take a vacation and walk around and explore your destination without being confined or restricted to a tour bus because your body won't cooperate. Or spend the afternoon playing with the grand children in the backyard. These are the kinds of things we look forward to doing when we have the time retirement provides. What most people don't account for is what is necessary to create and keep a strong healthy body that will be able to cooperate and let us do all those wonderful things. And I do know that anyone can begin to improve their health at any time. There is no age limit on when you start, just as long as you start and then keep doing it.

So, for anyone who has not yet added weight training or weight-bearing exercises into their life, regardless of age, I challenge you to see how you can add that in at least once this week. You can go all in and book an appointment at your local gym, the Y, Parkinson Rec Centre, etc., and have someone design a program especially for you. Of you can start small and simply put on a back pack with a heavy book or a few soup cans inside and go for a walk. There are so many options, I encourage you to find the one that is fun for you. Because when you do, being able to enjoy the golden years just that much more makes it all worth it.   


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