Friday, July 19, 2024

Weightlifting for Wellness: You’ll Love Feeling Strong

HomeFitnessWeightlifting for Wellness: You’ll Love Feeling Strong

Ready to get in the best shape in your life? It’s never too late – but it is a use-it-or-lose-it proposition with a catch.  

“Even when we use it, if we don’t use it enough, we still lose it gradually as we age,” says Ray Carr, Exercise Physiologist and owner of Elevate Fitness in Orange Park. “It’s very important to have a consistent plan to continually use it.” 

In this case, the “it” is muscle strength and mass and the best way to use it is consistent weight and resistance training aimed at building strength and improving mobility.

“One of the major issues for the senior community are falls,” Carr says. “Falls happen not only because of lack of balance, but also lack of strength in the hips and legs as we age. Muscle fibers have to be engaged regularly to allow for the flow of red blood cells that help increase the strength of those fibers. Without it, they start to atrophy and lose their ability to engage, pull and stretch. Strength is not just for aesthetics It’s for quality of life and the ability to operate more safely.”

Ray Carr, Exercise Physiologist and owner of Elevate Fitness in Orange Park
Ray Carr, Exercise Physiologist and owner of Elevate Fitness in Orange Park.

Resistance exercises, particularly those involving weight-bearing activities, also stimulate bone growth and increase bone density, both of which are crucial in preventing osteoporosis and fractures. They also support weight management and metabolic health. Increased muscle mass can boost metabolism and help prevent age-related weight gain.

Carr helped his mother, Jacqueline McDougald, 61, begin a weight training regimen six months ago. Not only does she feel stronger and more agile, but she’s also lost 20 pounds and four dress sizes, slimming down from a size 14 to 10.

“I was worried that my bones were getting weak, and my knees were hurting,” McDougald says about asking Carr for advice. She works out three days a week and started small with just 10 minutes of easy exercises that included wall push ups and repeatedly sitting down in a chair and standing up.

“I feel a lot better,” McDougald says. “I sleep better at night, and I don’t have the leg cramps I used to, because I’m working those muscles that I didn’t before.”

Both Carr and McDougald emphasize that it’s okay to start small. 

“You don’t have to jump right into a gym and try to lift weights,” Carr says. “Start with using your body weight, then add resistance as you start to feel stronger.

Beyond physical benefits, weight training also has been linked to improved cognitive function, enhanced mood and reduced risk of depression.  

This is 65!

Coach Kim of thekfactorcoaching.com.

Did you know that our muscles play a pivotal role, especially as we cross the half-century mark? Life gets busy and distractions are everywhere. “Even a short weight training session can make a huge difference,” says Coach Kim of thekfactorcoaching.com. “You should consider integrating weight lifting into your routine because of the awesome benefits it provides.”  

Strength & Vitality: Lifting weights not only builds muscle but also revs up our metabolism.

Bone Health: Resistance training is key to combating the onset of osteoporosis.

Improved Balance: Stronger muscles mean fewer falls, and that’s crucial as we age.

Enhanced Mobility: Keep dancing, jogging, or simply playing with your grandkids without a hitch.

Heart Health: Regular weight training can help improve cardiovascular health.

Remember, it’s not about the candles on your birthday cake but the strength in your stride. Let’s age not just gracefully, but powerfully!

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