April 9

Strength Training Benefits All – Age is NO Excuse!

Strength training benefits all ages and here's some inspiration if you think you're too old! Watch this 78 year old woman deadlift 225 lbs!

Shirley Webb had never done any strength training until she was 76 years old. Now, at the age of 78, she can deadlift 225 pounds.

Webb joined the Club Fitness gym in Wood River, Illinois, at the request of her granddaughter in 2014, and soon found that she had a talent for powerlifting. “At the time, I couldn’t walk up the stairs unless I held on to the handrail. If I got on the floor, I couldn’t get up without a chair,” she told Today. “Now I can come right up off the floor."

"The harder I work out, the better I feel.”

The grandmother of two deadlifted 237 pounds at a competition in Belleville, Ill., in November to set the state record for her age group. Since then she has maxed out at 245 pounds.

“I’ve seen such a remarkable difference in myself,” she said. “I’m glad that people are getting inspired by me doing this. I had one lady come in the gym and say, ‘I saw your video and I decided to come down and join this club.’ That makes me feel good.”

Webb hopes to beat both her personal best and own state record by lifting 260 pounds at her next competition.

Strength training benefits after 50

As one ages muscles shrink resulting in a loss of strength, balance and coordination. Lifestyle factors like diet, alcohol use and lack of exercise can speed up this decline.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) now has fitness guidelines specific to weight training for folks over 50.

ACSM strength training advice

Perform resistance training exercises 2 to 3 times a week to work major muscle groups including arms, legs and the core. With weight training of 20 to 30 minutes 2 to 3 times a week.

ACSM also recommends aerobic activity of 20 to 60 minutes 3 to 5 times a week. 

The benefits for over 50s of lifting weights

Weight training can increase bone mass. Lowering the risk of developing osteoporosis and fractures. Evidence also shows that strength training for this age group improves sleep. It can also benefit the moods of mild to moderately depressed people.

In a recent Wall Street Journal article entitled "The Benefits of Pumping Iron in Later Life" one man's story depicts the value of strength training best.

At 75, a retired thoracic surgeon had severe spinal pain. This condition as a result of hunching over patients for years during surgery. It was so severe that he couldn't even manage walking more than a block or two. After incorporating strength training into his workout routine three years ago, he is now playing nine holes of golf twice a week. Last summer during his vacation he enjoyed a daily 6 mile walk. 

A pretty nice return on his investment of time!


strength training, weight training, weight training benefits, weight training seniors

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