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Weight Training For Over 60's

Buckle up, this is a subject I’m particularly passionate about. 

If you’re reading this you’re probably either thinking about weight training or you’re someone else thinking you’re over 60 client, friend, partner, or relative should be doing it. But why though? Isn’t weight training for really obsessed people who just want to push their body to the physical limit with no concern for themselves. I’d say for 99% of the people doing it that could be further from the truth. I work in the strength and conditioning industry and have done for the last 10 years. I believed weight training was beneficial when I started and I believe that more now than ever. I’ve got clients who start with me riddled with terrible permanent pain, 3 months later living a life with total freedom and independence and the strength of a 20 year old. If you think I’m exaggerating read my reviews for proof. This stuff works and the science Is clear “strength training has a significant benefit” 

Weight training is so much more than what it seems, I train a lot of over 60 clients and all of them love to lift weights. If you could take a pill that gave you the strength of a fit 20 year old, would you take it? This is not my biased view, I’ve seen it first-hand lots of times, and the clients that I work with are here to tell the tales. 

But why weight training? I prefer pilates and Yoga. They’ve got good benefits too?

Yes but weight training unlike yoga and pilates is totally scalable. Meaning you can make small accurate, incremental improvements every week without altering the exercise. This is not a bash at yoga or pilates, I believe all fitness has its place! But, whilst yoga and pilates instructors will do their best to scale exercise back, it often involves a variation or a different exercise entirely until you can advance that movement. Making it not as easy to scale exercises, and not so suitable for every spectrum of person at each stage of their journey. Weight training however is much different. 

I’ve coached weight training to help people break records and take on the best in the world, to the 73 year old client rehabbing her knee after knee a knee replacement. This is because of its scalability benefit. 

You can start with most basic of bodyweight-assisted exercises, like having someone help you in and out of a chair, sitting and standing, sitting and standing, and so on. To the point where you don’t need someone's assistance, then you add just 1kg of resistance, like wearing a heavy coat. Then add another 1kg, a bag of sugar, then another 1kg, and so on. This is called progressive overload. Just like your muscles slowly deteriorating, we can slowly little by little increase them at any age. A Recent random clinical trial suggests “that even in the oldest old, muscle strength can be increased with a strength training program that uses a progressive overload.

You can follow this method right up to 100kg. This makes it safe and easy to monitor things, especially if we need to operate around ailments and client limitations.  

As you’re able to lift more and more, each week you’ll be improving the bone density and the integrity of each joint, so mundane tasks like walking to the shops, and carrying your own shopping become so easy. It's that kind of freedom, that allows us all to live a long happy life. Unreliant on others or allowing our body to dictate what we can and can’t do. That's no life at all, I don’t want that for anyone. 

I’m going to give a personal example that hit home for me. I was planning my mother's 60th, and I wanted her mother(my grandma) in her 80s to come. She had to travel from Cambridge to Nottingham, on and off trains, lugging suitcases around, etc. I sent her an invite to come, she replied “I don't travel far these days as I get tired on journeys and I have a very troublesome knee. The trials of aging!...." And she didn’t attend.

This hurt me because I knew it was avoidable. What I'm trying to say is, I know the mental war fare with starting something like this. I couldn’t persuade my grandma for the life of me, but my clients are proof, this stuff works. 

Arthritis and osteoporosis are destined for all of us, it's a spectrum, some don’t experience any problems and some suffer. I want to stop the ones suffering and have them lead a happy life, where their bodies have no limits to what they can and can’t do. 

But can it improve osteoporosis and painful joints? Well in this systematic review they summarised - the evidence for the effectiveness of strength training in people with osteoarthritis, and have found that strength training has a significant benefit in improving strength and function and in reducing pain.

Being stronger, will improve balance, protect your bones if you fall, reduce the pain in your joints, give you more freedom and independence, extend life, improve your stress tolerance, make you look better, improve energy, improve mobility, feel like a badass, and the list goes on. If you’re sat on the fence give weight training a try with an experienced trainer. You will not be disappointed, you have my word. 

Hope you enjoyed today's read. 

If you’ve got any questions regarding today's blog or would like to more about working with me, hit the enquire button and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. 

Many Thank, Coach Dan

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