I’m over 40 now. Should I start lifting again? I haven’t lifted before, is it too late to start? As a fitness coach, I hear plenty of this, and as a 41 year old, I feel you. The short answer is an emphatic, hell yes!
Although there are numerous benefits to weight training into your 40s and well beyond, here are 7 main reasons:
- Decreased risk of mortality.
- Increased muscle mass.
- Increased mobility and functionality.
- Improved bone health.
It’s clear how each of these would apply to younger age groups as well, but when you consider how much less we tend to exercise as we get older, it becomes even more critical as we age. In fact, the World Health Organization has shown that physical inactivity is the 4th leading global risk for mortality in the world.
And since we move and lift less as we age, muscle mass and mobility decrease, making it harder to function on a daily basis. Further, an optimal muscle mass to fat mass ratio indicates a more healthy, resilient body. And when I say muscle mass, I’m referring to lean muscle mass, not suggesting you need to turn yourself into a tanned, bodybuilding psychopath.
Combined with the loss of muscle mass, is the loss of bone mass. With age and a lack of resistance training, our bone density decreases, which could eventually lead to osteoporosis. Indeed, strong muscles need strong bones to support them.
In conclusion, the “why” of weight training is simple: live longer and live better. The “how” isn’t as straightforward, which I’ll cover in part 2 for next week’s article. This will explore some basic principles of weight training and how I go about designing programs for my 40+ clients.