Why Strength Training Helps Maintain Muscle AND Happiness As You Age


Deb Lowther

Maintain your muscles and your happiness. Get stronger and happier as you age.

 It turns out, there’s more value to strength training as you get older than muscle maintenance. Strength training leads to feeling fitter, increasing muscle mass, improving mobility, greater balance and more energy – all which helps you live your best life.  

If you’re just beginning to understand the importance of strength later in life, you are n to too late! A new study, featured in a New York Times piece, showed that older people who engaged in strength training not only maintained their muscles and slowed the effects of age related muscle loss—sarcopenia—but they also discovered newfound motivation and confidence, which allowed them to happily continue with their exercise routine.

 The study had 81 older men and women (age 65-75) start a routine and pushed them to maintain it for 6 months. After 6 months, they removed access to the gym the volunteers were going to and told them they were on their own if they wanted to continue. They went back to check on the subjects 6 months later and found that almost 50% of them had continued weight training on their own, at least once a week. 

“...people who discovered that they enjoyed and felt capable of completing a weight-training session subsequently sought out and joined a new gym and showed up for workouts, despite no longer receiving nudges from the researchers or encouragement and companionship from their fellow volunteers… Most of them also told the researchers that weight training had provided them with renewed confidence in their physical abilities beyond the gym.” (Source)

What is strength training?

Strength training is a type of exercise that uses resistance and weight to increase muscle. Both body weight and external weight can be used in repeated action until muscle fatigue occurs, which in turn builds strength.

If you move on to heavier weights to maximize muscle fatigue, you will take your routine to the next level: bodybuilding. But that is not necessary for muscle health and happiness as you age.  Strength training - resistance and light or body weight - focuses on pushing the muscles, building them gently and increasing their tone, without adding bulk.

Why strength train?

  • Decrease age related muscle loss—sarcopenia;
  • Burn calories: muscles continue to burn calories, even after a workout and in a resting state;
  • Strengthen the muscles that are around bones, which helps to increase bone density and decrease the risk of osteoporosis;
  • Relieve stress and increase energy levels;
  • Increase overall body strength, which helps improve balance and flexibility and decrease the risk of injury from a fall;
  • Overall better health in the form of a heart health, strong bones, and muscles that are no longer losing their potency, off of which goes a long way to preventing diseases such as heart conditions, diabetes and more.

“We already have plenty of evidence, of course, that weight training can help us to age well. By our early 40s, most of us are losing muscle mass, at a rate of about 5 percent a decade, with the decline often precipitating a long slide toward frailty and dependence.

But older people who lift weights can slow or reverse that descent, studies show. In multiple experiments, older people who start to lift weights typically gain muscle mass and strength, as well as better mobility, mental sharpnessand metabolic health.” (Source)

1lb of muscle weighs the same as 1lb of fat, but looks MUCH different.

Get started with strength training

First off, check in with your family doctor to make sure that you are physically able to begin a new fitness routine. If you’re unsure about how and where to start, a few sessions with a certified personal trainer can help you get started on the right foot. Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily need a gym membership to do this, but you can be sure that you will be doing the exercises correctly, to avoid injury or strain.

Help your muscles by eating right

Part of working out has to include making sure that your diet is supporting your new activities. Without enough protein and, in particular, the essential amino acids that your body needs to respond to muscle fatigue and build new, lean muscle tissue, you might find yourself fatigued after workouts, instead of feeling invigorated.

Since a quality diet includes lean meats, fish, low-fat dairy, and a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, it’s easy to add in a supplement like REJUVENATE to complete the dietary package and get all the nutrients you need.

Sample ideas for workouts

The most common muscle groups to focus on for increasing overall strength are chest, shoulders, triceps, biceps, back and leg muscles. 

  • Ask your trainer how to do a proper squat and leg lunges. These exercises work major muscles in the legs that will give you defined calves and thighs while also firming up the glutes (your behind!)
  • Bicep curls and triceps extensions will reduce the jelly arms so many women in particular are prone to.
  • Lift light weights over your head to work out your shoulders.
  • While laying on a flat surface, push light weights to the ceiling for chests press that will strengthen your chest, core and back muscles.

Once you have worked a few times with a trainer and are comfortable with the exercises, you can continue with resistance band workouts or light weights, right in your own home,  without further expense or trips to the gym.

In no time, you’ll find yourself looking forward to your workouts, and your post-workout protein smoothie or snack. Just add REJUVENATE as well and even when you’re not working out, your body will be working to slow down the aging process on your muscles, and your overall wellbeing.