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People who realized they loved and felt capable of finishing a weight-training session joined a new facility and attended sessions.

According to intriguing new research on the emotional effects of lifting weights, weight training by older individuals may increase strength and muscle mass and motivation and confidence, perhaps pushing them to continue exercising.

The findings imply that those who are concerned about being too old or incompetent to begin resistance training should give it a shot to see how their bodies and minds react.

Of course, there is plenty of evidence that weight exercise may help us age better. with the loss frequently beginning a long fall into weakness and dependency.

However, studies suggest that elderly adults who exercise weights can halt or reverse this decline. Multiple studies have found that older adults who begin lifting weights increase muscle mass and strength and improved mobility, mental clarity, and metabolic health.

Lifting, however, only benefits those who attempt it, and data show that just around 17% of older Americans routinely lift weights.

As part of broader research on weight training and the elderly, experts from Finland's University of Jyvaskyla recently decided to explore if they could uncover how weight training alters the brains and muscles of individuals who had never done it before.

To begin, they went to 81 older men and women from their health database who had agreed to start training. These participants were all between the ages of 65 and 75. They were all healthy and physically active, as do many Finns. They did not, however, lift weights.

They began a weekly supervised, full-body resistance training at the university for the duration of the research to acquaint participants with appropriate techniques and establish a basis of strength.

After three months, the group randomly continued training twice or three times per week, while an untrained group acted as a control group. The researchers evaluated the volunteers' strength, fitness, and metabolic health regularly and their views about the workouts, such as whether they considered them intimidating or enticing, and how difficult it was for the volunteers to find the volunteer's time and determination to show up.

This program lasted six months, by which point virtually all of the persons exercising weights had increased strength and improved different health indicators, even if they only lifted once a week.

But, after months of supervised lifting, the exercisers were suddenly on their own. The researchers informed them that they would no longer be allowed to use the university's facilities and gave them information on low-cost, appropriate gyms in the neighborhood. However, any further instruction would be at their discretion.

After six months, the researchers visited the participants to check who was still lifting and how frequently. Then, they conducted the same interviews six months later.

Surprisingly, they discovered that a year after the formal research concluded, over half of the volunteers were still exercising weights at least once a week.

The researchers identified no clear link between muscle and motivation. Moreover, people who developed the most strength or muscle mass during the research were not always the ones who were most inclined to stay with the exercise.

Instead, it was those who had grown to feel most confident in the gym. If someone's self-efficacy, a measure of confidence, had increased significantly during the research, was more likely to continue lifting.

People who discovered that they liked and felt capable of completing a weight-training session joined a new gym and showed up for workouts. So it is despite no longer receiving nudges from the researchers or encouragement and companionship from their fellow volunteers.

They discovered that resistance training is their cup of tea. The majority also stated to the researchers that weight training had given them newfound confidence in their physical skills outside of the gym. As a result, they were capable of doing things they never believed they could do before.

Of course, nearly half of the volunteers had informed the researchers that "they preferred other forms of exercise," and those men and women had stopped lifting weights for the most part.

While everyone's definition or perspective of aging may differ, we can all agree that things change within our bodies, and not always for the better. Nobody wants to lose energy, cope with the dangers, problems, and symptoms of heart disease, increase their biological clock, prepare for memory loss, or clutch their back every time they bend over. 

While genetic and environmental factors undoubtedly play a part, most of the symptoms associated with aging can be delayed or even reversed. Thus, there is a workable solution.

Strength Training: The Anti-Aging Secret 

Without a doubt, the most potent weapon we have in our arsenal in our fight against Father Time is strength training. The outcomes we require to age well revolve entirely around the pursuit and production of increasing strength. Strength exercise can renew and rebuild larger and more powerful muscle fibers known as Type II or rapid twitch muscle. The incredible thing is that you may unlock this potential in a very quick (20-minute), rare (1-2 times per week), and, most importantly, extremely safe (customized technology) manner.

Let us consider the influence of strength training in light of the many perspectives on aging:

  1. Cellular Health (How scientists measure aging)

  2. Biomarker Health (How doctors monitor health)

  3. Functional Health (How aging makes us feel)

 

Cellular Health

Cellular health relates to mitochondrial health (the cells' powerhouses) and telomere length (chromosomal end caps, the size of which can determine the lifespan of a cell or organism). While we can't see what's going on beneath the surface, research has revealed that effective exercise will not only jump-start and enhance energy production but will also reverse the genetic profile of our DNA.

Furthermore, telomere length defines an organism's natural lifetime. Telomeres split and weaken as we age due to various causes; however, you can control telomere degradation by synthesizing telomerase. Telomerase is a result of physical activity. Even a single high-intensity exercise session will promote the synthesis of telomerase, but continuous exercise will enhance the impact.

 

Biomarker Health

Insulin resistance is a crucial predictor of aging effects. When this becomes an issue (as it does due to a combination of excess carbs and a lack of adequate exercise), a slew of other problems can arise, including weight gain, high blood pressure, Type II diabetes, and others. All of these illnesses are the result of malfunctioning bodily mechanisms. They are, however, all reversible.

You can overcome insulin resistance by using the potent combination of a whole food diet and physical exercise. Strength training not only increases glucose metabolism during and immediately after an activity, but it also causes an adaptation response for more muscle and, therefore, the higher metabolic potential for the next workout. Because of the gains in muscular strength, this compounding impact leads to enhanced insulin sensitivity.

Functional Health

However, most individuals believe that aging and its effects impact how we are feeling and thinking. We don't need a science textbook to realize that we feel slower, heavier, and lazier as we become older. Those aches and pains in the joints and cognitive fog might be minor blips on the radar or a wake-up call.

While we all recognize that 'slowing down' is a natural part of life, many people are unaware of the precise relationship between how we feel (slowing metabolism, loss of mental sharpness, and mobility) and muscle mass loss.

While we begin to lose muscle mass in our 30s, loss accelerates with time if we do nothing to stop it. While we blame age and inactivity, the actual cause of our feelings is a loss of more profound and more significant muscle fiber activation. The most prevalent association with aging is muscle and strength loss, impacting our metabolism, bones, and mental clarity. Indeed, increased physical strength is related to lower mortality in males and quicker metabolisms, and better cognitive performance.

 

Strength Changes Everything

Strength training implies delaying and reversing the aging process at the cellular and genetic levels, increasing energy, protecting against the consequences of age, improving insulin resistance (the fuel for all types of illnesses), lowering mortality, and improving cognitive function.

Exercise may reverse your biological age by nearly a decade, provide you with more energy, help you maintain a healthy lifestyle, prevent aches and pains, and safeguard your brain and cognitive capacity.

The Takeaway

Weight training by older people may build not only strength and muscle mass but also motivation and confidence, potentially spurring them to continue exercising, according to an interesting new study of the emotional impacts of lifting weights. Moreover, the findings indicate that people worried that they might be too old or inept to start resistance training should perhaps try to see how their bodies and minds respond.