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Who Benefits From Weightlifting?

The answer to this question is easy, “everyone.” Now you might be thinking, “What about elderly people and/ or children?” Like I said, everyone can benefit from weightlifting but it has to be done the correct way. As with any weightlifting routine, consult your doctor and make sure you practice proper form. 

Weightlifting for Women over 40

Ernestine Shepherd – 78 Years Old

The question that needs answering, because for a long time even women who enjoyed exercise and loved staying in shape began to fear weightlifting, and preferred aerobic and cardio routines to avoid gaining massive muscles. Gladly, today the majority of women realize the common misconception among this urban myth, as well as the true benefits of building lean muscle mass. Although, are you aware that these benefits extend past the age of forty and beyond? Recent studies show that weightlifting is not a process of age reversal but it does reduce the effects of aging. Find someone who wouldn’t want that. 

According to recent reports in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) both weightlifting and strength training show an improved performance of daily tasks. Fact: Biologically, women have smaller muscles, more body fat and frailer bones than men. With increased age come many health complications and challenges including a loss in muscle mass, loss in bone density and an unfortunate gain of body fat due to a slower metabolism. Since women start with a greater disadvantage than men, they are at a greater risk of certain age related conditions; due to bone loss effects such as osteoporosis, loss of balance and frail skeletons are more common. Older women have a much higher risk of bone fractures. Muscle and bone strengthening exercise, such as weightlifting are proven to significantly reduce these health risks, especially in post menopausal women.  

Lifting weights has been shown to accomplish more for women who are interested losing weight and keeping it off than aerobic and cardio exercises alone. Despite the fact that aerobic exercise will initially burn more fat upon working out than weightlifting, studies by specialist in Sports Medicine have proven that the body continues to burn calories up to two hours after working out with weights, while the effect of traditional aerobics only last up to thirty minutes. 

Women in their 30’s begin to lose muscle mass, accelerating in their 40’s and rapidly proceeds with the hormonal changes that occur with menopause. Fat takes the place of lost muscle. Even without eating more or working out any less, women in their forties will start to gain weight along with a slower metabolism. Fortunately this process can be reversed with gaining back lean muscle mass by lifting weights, you won’t take on a manly figure, but instead you will begin to feel younger and look younger with your marvelous physique. 

Training with weights at any age has been shown to be great for you hearts health, but this is especially good news for women in their 40’s. Most women are not at risk for heart disease prior to the age of forty but over forty this risk begins to increase. According to the American Heart Association weightlifting has been proven to show a significant decrease in several of the risk factors for heart attacks; including lowering blood pressure, and reduction of fat, lipids and cholesterol build up in the blood. So what are you weighting for?

How Does Weightlifting Affect Men Over 50?

If you have never done any weightlifting or strength training and you are over the age of 50 now is the best time to start. In fact, recent studies prove that you are never too old to start weight training and benefit from the wealth of physical benefits of weightlifting. 

Sam Bryant – 70 Years Old

As men age, we lose muscle mass and this is a proven fact. For every decade of adult life that we choose to not exercise we lose five to seven pound of muscle, the majority of men put on at least that much or more in fat as their metabolism slows down. Weightlifting and strength training have both been shown to slow this process as well as replace a great amount of lost muscle tissue. As you begin to build muscle tissue, your metabolism increases and many health benefits are the consequence. Osteoporosis, arthritis, high blood pressure and heart disease are some of the many health conditions that come with age, but these risks can actually be prevented and in many cases even reversed with an appropriate weightlifting program. 

In men over fifty, complete joint replacement surgery such as in the knees and hip are most common. Study after study has proven that practicing the proper strength training and weightlifting regimen will reduce the need for these surgeries, as increased muscle strength also helps preserve and in many cases stop the deterioration of weight bearing joints. More common injuries among older people are sprained ankles or broken wrist and ankles due to falls. Weightlifting will prevent these injuries in more than just one way. Weightlifting strengthens and reinforces bones, making them less fragile, and less susceptible to fracture in the event of a fall. Also, lifting weights will improve your balance and strength, making a fall far less likely to happen in the first place. Members of the medical and fitness community generally agree that the best preventative medicine there is, is weight lifting and strength training. 

Although, for older men, if it is your first time working out it is highly recommended that you consult with your physician before you start any kind of exercise routine. They will conduct test and experiments to inform you of what exercises you may or may not be allowed to perform depending on your conditions. If it is your first time ever lifting, especially if you are over 50 you may be at a greater risk of injuring yourself. Upon joining a gym, be advised to work with a personal trainer to learn proper techniques and safety measures. A personal trainer may also help you tether a weightlifting routine that is specific to your goals and personal needs. Many professional weightlifters disdain the use of weight machines, but for older beginners they are great because they are easier to use and insure proper form and technique, and can be used by just about anyone with little or no instruction or prior weightlifting experience. 

How Does Weightlifting Affect Children?

Does lifting weights stunt your growth? There was a debatable time when the question was whether or not children should lift weights. The controversy stemmed from the fact that the growth plates, that allowed children to grow, are not entirely closed in children and youth. The open distance in these plates is what allows for growth and the concern was that weightlifting, and other forms of physical activity can close these structures prematurely and impact a child’s growth and development. Recent studies conclude that there is no clinical evidence of weightlifting in children causing growth plate injuries. The fact is, most personal trainers and family physicians agree that lifting weights can be beneficial to your child. 

weightlifting effects on children, tips & benefitsObesity is a major concern in this country, especially among children. Weightlifting combats fat. Building lean muscle mass is the best way for anybody even children to get rid of fat. Lifting weights provides a routine and discipline that many children need. Weightlifting in children not only builds muscle but also self-esteem and confidence. This teaches children at an early age the importance of respecting their bodies and sets in motion the notion of good nutrition and good healthy habits that last a lifetime. On a more personal note, I began exercising in the 4th grade and lifting weights in the 5th grade and I never had a problem with being bullied. 

The American Society of Pediatrics recently issued guidelines for strength training and weightlifting in adolescents. The report concludes that weightlifting indeed presents no harm in children or adolescents, other than the usual risks of injury associated with any weight lifter (over-training as an example). Increased strength and muscle growth in both adolescents and pre-adolescents will occur, but the guidelines presume that teens and preteens should not lift to their maximum to avoid potential injury to their growth plates and that they should lift a weight that is comfortable to perform with for 12 to 15 repetitions – of any given exercise.   

Your child, especially a younger one should not begin training like a power lifter or body builder. However, studies do show that children as young as eight years old doing a little strength training for approximately 100 minutes a week, not at the maximum weight, but at the 10 to 12 rep range, saw a drastic increase in strength. In the study it was reported that, monitoring children eight to twelve years old also showed improvement in eating habits. Interestingly enough the parents in the study noted a noticeable improvement in attitude and behavior in their children.

Read More: Healthy Benefits & Weightlifting Tips