You have probably heard it -or said it yourself- “if I were your age, I would be going to the gym too, but it’s too late for me.” The funny thing is, 20 years old boys hear it from 40 years old men, 40-year-old young adults hear it from 60 years old men – and you can bet there’s an 80 years old man out there saying the same thing to someone born 60 years ago.
Then you ask yourself: am I too old to start lifting weights? Well, before we can answer that question, you should ask yourself something else first: How old are you? Now that we have gotten that out of the way, I can most certainly tell you; you are Not too old to start lifting weights. Nobody is old enough to give up on weightlifting. And contrary to popular belief, the older you are, the more benefits you can get from lifting weights.
You should know it’s never too late to start lifting weights no matter how old you are, even if you have no gym experience.
The sports community is way past believing weightlifting is a young man’s game. Lifting weights is good for you if you are 20 years old or past 60. It’s good for senior citizens to pick up a barbell and get to work!
However, there are a lot of problems that come with old age: Muscle mass loss, weakened bones, hardened tendons, joint pain, bad posture, and overall frailty. When you get past the 30-year-old barrier, these problems slowly start to make their way into your body. After a decade or two later, they are piling up on you.
Refusing to acknowledge them or treating them poorly can turn normal activities into a terrible chore. But you can fix most of those problems thanks to one thing: lifting weights. If you pay attention to the benefits weightlifting gives you, it looks like the perfect solution for any age-related issues: building muscle, strengthening the joints, increasing bone density, tendon mobilization, and overall wellbeing.
Once you have realized how foolish it is to believe old age is the reason to stay away from lifting weights instead of a reason to start weightlifting, you’ll begin to wonder why people haven’t realized such an obvious thing. Ignorance and fear are rampant when it comes to gym-related activities.
Bad experiences usually drive most people away from weightlifting, as well. The bottom line is, you shouldn’t ask yourself if you are too old to lift weights, you should be asking if you are old enough to start thinking about weightlifting as a priority to improve your health.
Now that you understand the importance of lifting weights regardless of age – or rather the importance of lifting weights as you grow older – you need to understand you cannot dive right into the gym as you could’ve done when you were 20 years old. There are certain things you need to understand and a few others to keep in mind to make your weightlifting experience as enjoyable and fruitful as possible.
How to Start (or go back to) Lifting Weights When you Are Past your Physical Prime
You probably understand the importance of lifting weights when you are old by now. It’s not about “Am I too old?” but rather, “Am I old enough to need it already?”. The truth is, the sooner you start lifting weights, the better. You should go at it at different speeds depending on how old you are, but there are a couple of things everyone should consider when they want to embark on a weightlifting journey:
Before you jump right on the horse and start improving your life, you need to get into the right mindset. There are a lot of things concerning good gym habits — especially when you are older. First of all, you need to start slow. Take it easy at first. It doesn’t matter if 18-year-old Tim over there is bench pressing 225 for reps, that’s important. Before you put weight on the bar or the machines, learn proper techniques.
Let it become second nature to you. Once you know it by heart, increase the weight. Avoid daredevil like weight jumps, a little bit at a time is okay. Once you have understood you need to start slow and grow little by little with the help of proper technique, you need to settle on your expectations.
Nobody is saying you cannot look amazing when you are older — you absolutely can. But you need to understand it’s going to take more time and effort than when you were younger, so readjust your yearly goals properly.
If you don’t have goals, you need them to stay motivated. Start with a simple, yet important weekly goal: Missing zero gym sessions. Then move it up to a month of going with no misses. Start projecting into next year: How you want to look, how much you want to lift. Keep it interesting! And don’t get discouraged if you miss a deadline or fail on your objectives: all you have to do is get more serious and go at it again.
If you can afford private classes, you should take them. You don’t have to rely on them forever, but they can be of great help when you are getting started to avoid any unnecessary mistakes. If that’s not possible, don’t worry! Plenty of people are willing to help you down at your gym. And you can do your research online; there are more than plenty of reliable sites to learn from.
How to Pick the Right Routine When you Are Older
If this is the first time you are going to the gym, you need to start with the basics. The best way to do it is to do a simple strength routine using barbell compound movements. There are a lot of them online for free; you can pick the one you like the most.
It’s a great way to start thanks to its short duration and simple exercises. You will center your entire routine on squats, deadlifts, and the bench press. After you have a solid foundation, you can decide whether you want to go deeper into your strength journey or you want to build muscle. By the time you are there, you’ll know what to do!
What to do When You are Scared of Injuries or Injured Already
Old age increases the chance of injury, that’s a fact. Going to the gym can exacerbate the fear of suffering an injury. But the truth is, you’ll probably have a higher chance of injury doing everyday things when you don’t train, than lifting weights in the gym. It’s rare to get injured if you learn proper technique and take weightlifting seriously.
If you are injured already, you can benefit from weightlifting, as it’ll strengthen any troubled areas. You should consult your physician before you start training.
What to Consider When you Are Outside the Gym
Remember to rest a lot after each gym session. You should also improve your diet and start eating a little bit more if you want to build muscle or don’t want to lose weight. You should always listen to your body, especially as you grow older. If you feel like you need to wait another day before hitting the gym, do it. There’s no rush. But stay consistent in your week to week basis.
Is it better to pay for a gym membership, or should I start my home gym?
For a lot of people, going to the gym is not about fitness only. It’s a social activity, as well. You shouldn’t get caught in three-hour conversations when it takes you one hour to finish your routine, but getting a gym membership is a great way to know people from all walks of life.You can make great friends there — people who’ll help you get better.
If you are not big on social activities, you should know going to the gym can be a solitaire thing as well — plug in your earbuds, and you’re good to go. A home gym is a rather expensive investment, but if you truly want to be left alone when you lift and can afford it, you should go for it. You should try a month or two worth of a gym membership before you settle on it.
I have tried lifting weights over and over — I get bored, how can I fix that?
Lifting weights can turn into a sport-based activity if you want it to be. You should look for powerlifting gyms and Olympic weightlifting gyms if you’d like. The gym can turn out to be a repetitive chore if you only train for health and aesthetic reasons. Training for a sport -even if it’s only for recreation- can turn your gym sessions into a fun experience. You can compete as well – there are master and senior categories for all ages!
I’m not into weightlifting, but I want to exercise regardless, what should I do?
If you want to get fit but don’t like the idea of going to the gym, there are other alternatives. First of all, I’d recommend going to the gym for a month or two, to make sure you want nothing to do with it. If that’s a sure thing, you can try a plethora of things: Combat sports, swimming, triathlons, team-based sports, etc.
People of all ages recreationally engage in these activities, and they are good for your body as well. Try to look at what’s the best fit for you, and get started!
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