6 Reasons To Strength Train In Your 60s and Beyond

Fitness - April 30, 2024

“I’m in my 60s, it’s too late for me to start working out.” 

I’ve heard that one many times before. I think it’s a lack of belief that something can be done to improve your health, fitness, strength, balance, and so on at this stage of your life. When I mention we routinely work with people in their mid-80s, I often get a stunned reaction, as if that’s some sort of extreme outlier. Everyone should be working out in their 60s, 70s, 80s, and beyond!

When it comes to working with people of retirement age, I am motivated by watching the demise of my own grandparents. Healthy, yet completely unwilling to move much, two of my grandparents deteriorated much faster than they should have. Their lives could have been extended years, and the quality of their lives even further than that. At Evolve, our goal is to help you improve the quality of your life for as long as possible.

Here are 6 reasons to strength train in your 60s and beyond:

Build muscle

No, you won’t be working out on Muscle Beach any time soon, but strength training is so important for so many reasons as you age. You’ll prevent sarcopenia (muscle loss), and maintain your ability to stay active: you can continue to do work around the house, or even just get up and down from your chair. 

Building muscle looks like this: learning to squat, step up, press and pull weights that are appropriate for your current ability level, walking with weights, and learning to plank and improve your core strength. It’s all carefully controlled and safely made possible with a trainer. 

Preserve bone density

The number one way to prevent bone loss (osteopenia/osteoporosis) is through impact training and strength training. You can confirm that with your doctor. Impact training looks different depending on your ability level, but it can include lighter activities such as walking, or higher impact activities like jumping jacks, agility ladders, or playing tennis. 

Preserving bone density helps prevent one of the top killers later in life: falling and breaking a large bone, such as a hip or femur. Strength training can simply help you reduce the risk of trauma that can seriously alter your life.

Increase energy levels

Maintaining your lifestyle for as long as possible is typically a top priority, and you might not realize how important muscle strength is for improving your energy levels. Next time you make an audible sound getting out of your car, lose your breath climbing the stairs, or lifting up your latest Amazon purchase from your front steps, remember it only gets harder unless you actively work on getting and maintaining your strength and fitness levels. 

We need to perform exercises that get the heart rate elevated, move some weight around in a controlled way, and have fun! Energy only improves when you enjoy what you are doing. 

Reduce risk of chronic conditions

According to Harvard Medical School, strength training triggers many body reactions that protect us against chronic disease. It helps lower blood pressure and blood sugar. It reduces chronic inflammation. It improves cellular function and lowers certain hormone levels responsible for developing cancer. While genetics always play a huge factor, exercise quite simply improves your chances of living a longer, healthier life. 

Maintain and improve mobility and balance

Mobility can mean two things: literally being mobile and able to walk around and perform the tasks you want and need to do on a daily basis. It can also mean having mobility in your hips, knees, ankles, shoulders and so on. This allows you to get up and down off the floor easier, to grab something off an overhead shelf, or play with your grandchildren. 

We ask most of our older adults to get up and down from the floor at the beginning and end of their workouts (although some aren’t able, which is okay.) We stretch them and work on active range of motion in their joints. We help their alignment to improve their balance. We simply keep them moving and relatively strong.

Keep your independence 

If you are in your 60s, you might not be thinking of this yet, but this is a top priority for our 80+ year old clients. They don’t want to be taken out of their home and placed in a care facility. They want to drive, and go to the theater, and see their friends and family. Exercise is the key to improving the 5 points above, and it all ultimately leads to this one: independence. 

If you or a loved one is interested in improving your fitness to improve your quality of life, our customized first workout sessions help us understand your current ability level so that we know how to customize a program to get you safe and effective results.

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