Should Old People Lift Weights?

When talking about longevity people’s eyes glaze over to the equivalent of talking about investing. Which, it is very similar. See your eyes just glazed over.

It’s investing into future you feeling good, neurologically performing at a higher capacity, and decreasing overall risk of overall death.

The Institute of Medicine has recently recognized cognitive aging as having important financial and public health implications for society with the increasing older adult population worldwide. If we can have sharper 75-year old’s being good and contributing in a positive manner to society, we should be striving to be doing that. Even if it is prescriptive measures in the present, our future relatives will benefit. And we know the prescriptive measures to do that.

Lifting weights for older people

So lets get this clear. You’re going to die (I’m sure this is news to you) . You’re going to be 80 years old. This is morbid.  When you reach that ripe age of 80 years old. You, your body, and your brain are going to be the sum of every single decision you made those 80 years.

 This freaks me out on a daily basis. Am I making the correct decisions? Will 80 year old Matthew (if I make it to 80) be okay? Am I wasting my time lifting weights? Should I be stretching more.

 Well the research is becoming more and more clear. The stronger you are, the less likely you are going to have a larger cognitive decline you’d other wise have. You will also be less susceptible to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

There are more than a few reasons to begin exercising. Most of the time people do it to lose weight. But there are additional benefits that people do not know about. One of the most crucial positive repercussions of weight training is brain health. More on why you should lift weights here

 

We are in a constant decline of aging.

Minute by minute we are aging. Including our brain, which affects our IQ. I know take a deep breath and swallow that hard truth. You get dumber with age. With age we lose our ability to be as cognitively sharp as you are when you are in your 20’s. But there are ways to hinder this and keep your machine running at it’s regular RPM’s for longer than if you’d let mother nature take her course turning you into a Honey Nut Cheerio eating monkey, sitting in front of the television laughing at Two and a Half Men at the age of 60.

Our day to day choices, habits, and patterns affect whether this process of aging is a slow grade, or a slalom down the alps.  CAVEAT: Genes of course play a role as well.

There are ways we can give ourselves a push towards accelerating and decelerating this process of cognitive decline.

Weight lifting, or resistance training, can improve brain function, improve overall health, and reduce cognitive aging in through many biological processes. Greater muscle strength is associated with better cognitive function in aging men and women.

One well designed study found that included 338 men and women with an average of 66 years of age, it was a four-year randomized and controlled intervention study analyzing the effects of exercise and nutrition on endothelial function.

 

Why?

Cognitive impairment that affects older adults is commonly associated with an inflammatory imbalance, resulting in decreased physical fitness. 

A well designed study of found that Resistance training encouraged improved anti-inflammatory balance and physical performance. It  simultaneously increased cognitive profile in older women with cognitive impairment. 

 

As a grandfather or grandmother, you don’t need to be dead lifting 500 lbs and have sweltering thighs, you just need some resistance. That includes resistance bands. A study found significant increase in cognition of older women that already had cognitive impairments when they used these bands. This is a great option because they  can be incorporated into daily activity as a safe, don’t take up any room in the house, low cost, and very trainable way of exercise.  They used elastic resistance bands at varying speeds the higher speed did have more statistically significantly higher results.

They concluded that elastic band-based used at higher speeds, as compared with slower speeds, is more efficient in helping older women with mild cognitive impairment to improve cognitive function, physical performance and muscle strength.

Not only is exercise great for long term maintenance of your contents in your cranium but it’s also been shown to have immediate net positive effects in cognition.  A review of the effects of small bouts of exercise published in Brain Plasticity, researchers not only review the cognitive and behavioral effects of one session but also summarize data from a large number of neurophysiological and neurochemical studies in both humans and animals depicting the broad range of effects from a single session.

They found:

Improved executive function – which affects decision making

Enhanced mood

decreased stress levels

Widespread brain areas and brain systems are activated that weren’t prior.

Other studies have shown that it is a preventative measure to Alzehimhers and dementia. 

 

Harvard School Of Public Health states –

“The benefits of exercise come directly from its ability to reduce insulin resistance, reduce inflammation, and stimulate the release of growth factors—chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells, the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, and even the abundance and survival of new brain cells.”

Numerous studies have proposed that the areas of the brain that control thinking and memory (the prefrontal cortex and medial temporal cortex) are in larger volume in individuals who exercise versus people who don’t. “Even more exciting is the finding that engaging in a program of regular exercise of moderate intensity over six months or a year is associated with an increase in the volume of selected brain regions,” says Dr. Scott McGinnis, a neurologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an instructor in neurology at Harvard Medical School.

You can lift weights safely, effectively, and at any stage in life

Our program not only teaches you how to get incredibly strong in a short amount of time. But it also shows you the up to date strategies to always make sure you are making sound decisions for yourself later in life. It breaks down neurogenesis (gaining and losing braincells) as well as the supplements and herbs that have been shown to been be a significant impact at providing the best environment and nutrients to keep your cognition performing at its highest possible rate for the longest amount of time. But if you are new to weight lifting make SURE you get clearance by your physio and or doctor first.

If you’re already aged and you feel like you’ve missed the boat, that’s far from the shore of truth.  There is nothing to fear. There are ways to incorporate and practice to enhance your cognitive ability. Cognitive-training studies have demonstrated that older adults can improve cognitive functioning when provided with intensive training in strategies that promote thinking and remembering.

Studies of long duration are revealing that doing stimulating activities is associated with better brain function. Another is meaningful social engagement is predictive of maintaining functioning in older age.

While aerobic exercise has it’s benefit you should not only do one or the other (resistance training or aerobic training) you should do both.

Greater muscle strength is associated with better cognitive function in ageing men and women.  You must lift weights in order to build strength. This isn’t going to just help you just think more clearly. It is going to allow you to have more energy throughout the day, scale stairs easier, and next trip you take with your family you won’t be worrying about your next place you have to take a seat and rest, you’ll be ready to go and have fun with them! So begin slowly and focus on being safe in the gym.

The Psychological Science and Public Interest States –

“the available evidence suggests that activities can postpone decline, attenuate decline, or provide prosthetic benefit in the face of normative cognitive decline, while at the same time indicating that late-life cognitive changes can result in curtailment of activities. “

So here is a goal for older humans to work up to work up to  150 min of moderate intensity activity each week. If you have not exercised in a very long time. Make sure you slowly progress into it. Do not rush it. Start walking if you are very heavy 20-30 minutes a few times a week. Then increase the duration over minutes spent walking each week or minutes per walk. Then progress to doing resistance training along side brisk walks. If you want more information on the benefits of walks check out this article here.

If you don’t know where to begin with your workout feel free to check out any of our workout systems, the also incorporate a section to maximize nutrients for brain health as well as get you very strong to build muscle and live an active lifestyle. If you are very unsure about resistance training because you’ve never done it before, be sure to seek help from a personal trainer or physical therapist to assess your form and make sure you are performing everything safely until you are comfortable! And of course if you have any questions feel free to ask!

 

BOTTOM LINE: 

Resistance training fights aging even at late years in life. 

The elderly will cognitively benefit from forms of resistance training. 

 

Not sure where to start with your workout? Get the Ultimate Muscle Building Guide you will:

    1. Get the BEST exercises to build muscle

    2. All information on how muscle is actually built (especially in the beginning of your training)

    3. List of all the need to know tactics to get your dream body

    4. Where and how to train optimally for time so you can spend time with friends & family, living your life! Not being cooped up a gym 12 hours each week! 

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