Is building strength after 50, 60 or even older, possible???
Many people think that we get weaker as we get older. And while, yes, it’s true, we’ll all experience some physiological changes and a decline in strength and power as we age, it doesn’t and SHOULDN’T be something that we just relent or give into like, “It’s just what’s supposed to happen…” WRONG!!!
Strength can be improved at any age, and older adults who train regularly can become incredibly strong and with continued training, they can hold onto much of that strength very late in life. The biggest declines you’ll see are in your speed and power and it just so happens, that’s what is most important when it comes to overall function and performance.
Now when I say “performance”, I’m not talking about running a 100-meter dash or explosively lifting a bar overhead (Unless you’re down with that, I’ll make room on my schedule for you), I’m talking about everyday things. Taking out the trash, walking the dog, gardening, THAT kind of performance, LIFE performance. What happens when you trip and catch yourself…what component of fitness are you utilizing? Yep, power. If you don’t catch yourself and fall…what are you lacking? Yep, power. I could go on all day about the significance of power training as we age but for now, I’ll leave a link to the NSCA’s position statement on the matter. Let’s continue.
The ole saying is 100% true: If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. Power and strength are the first to go, so what do we need to do? Yep, pick things up and put them down, or to put it simply, strength train!
People who are sedentary and don’t move their bodies efficiently daily will start to lose lean mass, get weak and become ever weaker if they don’t train as they age. Similarly, an active person who stops training will grow weaker quickly and then gradually become weaker as years pass. This is called the Principle of Reversibility.
The flip side is amazing:
Inactive people who start working out at any age become stronger—often quite quickly at first. As people continue to train, they’ll gradually gain more strength. If they continue working out over their entire lives, they’ll become very strong, and they’ll lose strength due to advanced age at a much slower rate.
These people retain their capabilities later in life, as INACTIVE people around them lose their independence!
I’ve personally seen people well into their 70’s and 80’s gain strength and dramatically improve function, so it’s definitely not too late to start building strength after 50’s (and well beforehand!).
Building Strength Training After 50: Here are three “Secrets”
Here are three tips for gaining strength after 50 (you aren’t “over the hill”):
1. You have to strength train consistently
Building strength is about momentum. If you train 2-4 times a week and do the right stuff (see below), you’ll get stronger and stronger. But you can’t work out for a month and then take a month off. If you do, you’ll lose your progress and have to start over. Especially as we age (so don’t stop 😉 )
2. You have to do the right things the right way at the right times
Strength training is a balance of stress and recovery, and you CAN do too much or too little. Similarly, doing the same things over and over will blunt their effect. You need some variety, and something called “progressive overload” to ensure you always make progress. But first, you need to make sure you do the movements properly. Don’t stress about all this—our professional coaches take care of everything for you!
3. Nutrition is one of the most important
You can’t drive a vehicle without fuel, and your body won’t become stronger without the right food. Protein is important, and so are vitamins and minerals. Carbs and fats figure into the equation, too. Again, we’re experts and we can tell you how to optimize your nutrition, so you get strong, functional, hit the golf ball further and live a long, healthy, happy life!
Let’s Start Lifting Together!
Remember, it’s never too late to start working out. Here’s the best part of all: People who start working out usually notice changes in strength fast. As the body “wakes up” and connects the brain to the muscles that are already there, people get stronger very quickly.
Later, with great training and nutrition, people generally notice a few more changes. Their clothes start to fit differently, movement becomes easier and more fun, and they usually add a little bit of muscle.
Don’t worry about “getting bulky.” That just doesn’t happen. If you gain muscle, it will happen slowly, and you’ll look “fit” rather than “bulky.” You don’t have to be big to be strong.
For all those who are currently in the studio and taking care of their bodies, keep crushing it and if you know anyone, friends, family members, neighbors who would benefit from the same things you do, drag ’em in here with you and say, “Let’s get to work!”