When you exercise (because you should by now), do you do mainly cardio or weight lifting? If you didn’t answer with “both,” you have failed. Lifting weights isn’t just a guy thing. In fact, weight lifting and muscle development is imperative for a strong and healthy life. Truth is, every adult should lift weights (if there are no diagnoses set forth opposing that!) regardless of gender or weight. But here’s why specifically those over 20 should be lifting weights:
Sarcopenia is muscle deterioration, and it increases with age, unlike muscular atrophy. It’s the reason you start to lose your mobility when you get older, why grandmas and grandpas walk slowly, why old people in cartoons always seem to be complaining about their hips and backs.
And the NIH states that sarcopenia can also be associated with a few other symptoms including falling and fatigue. So not only does sarcopenia make it easier for you to get injured when you exercise, but it also may make you feel too tired to even think about exercising. It’s the ultimate opponent to exercising when you’re older!
Sarcopenia normally starts in the 30s.But the rate of muscles loss increases as you get older. It happens to us all because aging is a part of life. But there are ways to decelerate the rate at which sarcopenia occurs. And that’s with lifting weights.
According to WebMD, inactive people lose muscle mass from 3 to 5%. The primary treatment of sarcopenia is of course exercising. It goes back to the scientific old teaching: if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.
Arthritis also happens.
Guess what’s also associated with sarcopenia? Arthritis. If you think about it, it makes sense though: if you have extra weight on your body, your joints have to deal with extra pressure. And over time, they’ll start giving out on you. Arthritis.org vividly explains that each pound of extra weight exerts around 4 pounds more—especially on the knees. If you’re 30 pounds overweight, you’ll be exerting 120 pounds on your poor ol’ knees.
How do you find out how overweight you are? I’m sure you’re familiar with the body mass index. It’s best to measure yours as accurately as possible using professional help, but you can still use a scale, find out your height, and use a body mass index calculator like this.
Cardio (alone) hurts your body more as you get older.
Do you like to run? There are lots of benefits of running, so I wouldn’t be surprised if you did. But there are also a few detriments of excessive running.
If you know someone that does lots of marathon running/racing, you may perceive them to be petite and lean. It’s a great exercise for building endurance and shedding pounds.
But guess what weighs more than fat?
You just learned that as you age, your muscle deteriorates. Cardio is great because it helps you lose weight and burn fat, but it doesn’t do too much for muscle growth. With excessive running/cardio in ADDITION to aging, your muscles will be practically melting off your body. That’s why it’s so important to know how to lift weights safely to help maintain and build muscle mass as you age.
Your metabolism slows down.
The sad truth is that it’s hard for us to get back to the size we were in say—high school. Fast metabolisms were a gift from the gods back then; you could stuff your face with macaroni and pizza and barely gain an inch. But as we age, so do our metabolisms. In fact, a woman’s metabolism starts slowing down in her late 20’s.
Your metabolism isn’t really a physical thing. It’s more of the combination of all the bodily functions in your body. Having a “fast metabolism “really means your body uses up lots of calories just to do ordinary things like walk, sleep, and breathe.
The speed of your metabolism mainly comes from genetics, but there are ways to pick it back up once it starts slowing down, and that’s with lifting weights.
Muscle weighs more than fat, so if you’ve got more muscle, it’ll take more energy to move yourself around. More energy needed = more calories used for ordinary things like walking, sleeping, and breathing. Weight lifting is the cure.
If not now, when?
This is a personal reason, to say the least. But once you’ve got your career moving and the bills packing up, and life becomes more eventful, do you really think you’re gonna set time out to learn how to weight lift? Especially if the harmful effects of stress are already taking its toll on your mind and body.
Making a habit of something as challenging and willpower-requiring as exercise will definitely be a problem for busy bees.
However, if you’ve already made exercising a habit and have learned how to weight lift properly, you’re going to want to stick to it. Your days will feel incomplete without the frequent bouts of pushing your limits that weight-lifting brings you.
So there you have it—5 reasons anyone and everyone should be lifting weights. No, you won’t get “hulk/bulky,” and no it doesn’t take forever and a day to see results (if you’re doing it right).
And we’re not saying you should throw cardio out the window once you hit a certain age.
But next time you step in the gym, get familiar with everything. If you normally stay in the elliptical/treadmill area, start straying. Try out the cable machine or a hip abductor machine. Or better yet, try out some free weights (after all, using free weights requires more energy and muscle so it makes it a bit more fun!). Get familiar with weight lifting and use your muscles now so you won’t lose them later.