I am an aging adult who is eager to prevent or reverse the effects of aging on the body and appearance. I overheard a conversation regarding the tremendous benefits that weightlifting has in this regard.
So, does weightlifting prevent aging? Yes, it says some research and recent studies.
So, I decided to do some digging to see what the science says.
Statistics from recent studies suggest that there is a strong correlation between weightlifting and SIGNIFICANTLY slowing and preventing the aging process.
This is due largely to the ‘Myostatin effect’ and the role of weightlifting in the same. Keep reading.
More About Weightlifting: Facts Versus Fiction
When we think about weightlifting, it is easy to picture men with bulging muscles and ‘bodybuilder-esque’ physiques. However, weightlifting offers so much more for both men and women.
For starters, you get to choose how much resistance or weight is used in any given session.
Additionally, other variables such as how much time is spent lifting weights, as well as one’s diet all play a result in just how much of a factor your weightlifting sessions will play in bulking you up.
Women, in particular, are concerned with getting too bulky from weight training. However, it is highly unlikely that this will happen, as women and men are built differently. The high testosterone level in men is what accounts for their ability to bulk up the way they do.
Similarly, the high level of estrogen (and low testosterone levels) is what prevents women from bulking up in this way. As such, there is more for women to gain from weightlifting than there is to lose or fear.
Also known as strength training, weightlifting is a kind of physical exercise where light to heavyweight resistance is used to define the body’s musculature creating a toned appearance. There are benefits to be enjoyed by engaging in various types of physical exercises.
For example, cardiovascular or aerobic exercises are great for building endurance. Similarly, weightlifting is excellent for developing physical strength.
Aging Skin and Weightlifting
Your skin is the body’s largest organ, and it is the first thing people see whenever you interact with the world. Your skin is also the first part of the body to visibly show the signs of aging.
It is, for this reason, there are so many antiaging creams, gels, and potions of all sorts on the market today promising to reduce or prevent the effects of aging on the skin.
Unsurprisingly, these products are flying off the shelves at rapid rates. After all, these are far better options than invasive and possibly harmful surgical options.
Thankfully, there are other options outside of creams and potions, or surgery, that allow us to take care of our skin and reverse the signs of and prevent further aging. One such option is that of resistance training (weightlifting).
Resistance training is useful for improving the skin thanks to its ability to lower levels of myostatin. Myostatin negatively regulates muscle mass. As such, lower levels of myostatin are responsible for increased muscle strength and mass in the body.
The Myostatin Effect: So, How Does Weightlifting Prevent Aging by Lowering Levels of Myostatin?
The levels of Myostatin in the body increases as one age. This increase in Myostatin is partially responsible for a loss of muscle mass and sarcopenia that occurs during aging as well. This loss of muscle mass can result in sagging and aging skin all over the body.
By lowering the levels of Myostatin in the body through regular weightlifting, one can increase lifespan and prevent aging.
As the myostatin effect of weightlifting will result in the retention and building of muscle mass, which helps to keep the skin looking young and prevents the body from aging.
How To Make Weightlifting Work For You
Of course, knowing the benefits of weightlifting and how it can help prevent aging is not the same as capitalizing on this reality. To benefit, you have to take action and incorporate weightlifting or resistance training as a part of your exercise routine.
There are many options you can explore in this regard inside and outside of a gym. Here’s what you will need for an effective weightlifting program that will help prevent aging:
i. Weightlifting at Home
Weightlifting at home is also possible and practical and can be used with or without a personal trainer. Additionally, resistance training or weightlifting can be done with or without artificial weights equipment.
For example, push-ups and pull-ups are excellent examples of ‘non-weighted’ resistance training exercises that one can do. Still, weights can be added to make these exercises that much more challenging and effective – increasing results.
Of course, one can have a home gym of sorts, fitted with dumbells, workout mats, and other kinds of free weights and weighted machine options.
Whatever your choice, as a rule of thumb, it is always best if you choose to work out with assistance if you are a beginner. Mainly if you are going to be using the weighted equipment.
Weight training workout videos that you can follow along with can also prove useful.
ii. Weightlifting in the Gym
Some persons will find that joining a gym is perhaps the best way to engage in weightlifting. This is as al the equipment that you need is there for beginners and advanced weightlifters alike.
Additionally, there is the professional help of coaches and trainers on hand if you need them. There is also a wider variety of weight training exercises and workout programs to choose from when one decides to train at the gym versus training at home.
iii. Push Past the Plateau
One common problem that weightlifters and anyone doing any workout regime will find is that of plateauing. The plateau happens when you get to a certain level of progress and are unable to push past it.
This can happen to just about anyone, regardless of whether you are a novice with minimal experience or you are advanced and have lots of experience.
Pushing past the plateau and starting to see progress and results again is more than merely working harder. Instead, it is also about working smarter.
For example, instead of trying to more repetitions of the same exercise using the equal weights, one can choose to either:
a. Increase the amount of weight for the training with the same number of repetitions.
b. Do a different kind of weighted exercise that targets the same muscle group or area.
Either way, studies show that opting to do things different proves to be more effective than simply trying to do more of the same when seeking to push past the inevitable and dreaded plateau. Essentially, variety is the key to overcoming the plateau.
iv. Eat Well
Of course, what you put inside your body is just as crucial as your weightlifting routine. After all, it is no secret that weightlifting activity can prove to be more effective when a specific diet or certain foods are brought into the mix while others are foregone.
For example, lean proteins should be added to the diet, and processed foods like sugars and carbs can be removed.
In addition to supporting your weightlifting activities and training program, the right diet itself has direct implications for aging.
For example, research does indicate that green-leafy vegetables that contain antioxidants and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are great for keeping the skin supple and looking young for a long time to come.
v. Rest and Relaxation
Stress, which releases the hormone cortisol, can cause the body to age significantly. In addition to the stress hormone cortisol doing its damage, it is also true that chronic stress will cause your weightlifting routine to be less effective in helping you reach your anti-aging goals.
To counteract stress, and help the body stay young and work with (not against) your weightlifting routine, rest will become critical.
In addition to reducing stress, rest allows the body to recuperate and for the muscle mass actually to be built. This is as muscle tissue is broken down during weight training workouts and is repaired during periods of rest.
Importantly, sleeping is not the only way to ensure that the body rests and recuperates. Instead, other options count too.
For example, meditation, ensuring that you monitor your work hours (that is, trying not to overwork yourself), and taking breaks when needed will all go a long way in ensuring that the body gets the rest it needs to make weightlifting effective.
vi. Start Where You Are and Take Care
Finally, it is essential to remember to start small when beginning a weightlifting program. Trying to do much at once can result in injury and cause more harm to the body than good. Therefore, it is essential to remember to start small and to grow as you go.
Seek out the guidance and assistance of more experienced weightlifters where necessary and ensure that you maintain proper form when doing the various exercises.
Not only does proper form help to prevent injury, but it also ensures that the exercises themselves are more effective.
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