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How often Should seniors lift Weights?

Seniors older than 65 years should try to get at least 2 hours 30 minutes of moderate exercise each week. This works out to be about half an hour on most days in a week. But, how many times a week should seniors lift weights? You should make weight training on at least two days a week. Try other strength exercises and don’t forget to work on your balance and flexibility every day as well.

You wouldn’t expect a seventy-five years old grandma to run a marathon, but believe it or not many do. This isn’t to say that you should. After all, not everyone wants to. But, we’re saying that it’s possible to exercise as effectively when you’re a senior, as when you’re in your twenties. You must remember that everyone should exercise according to their limits.

But, what strength exercises should we do?

Should seniors lift weights?

There are many good exercises we can do. Swimming, walking, cycling and yoga are good gentle exercises that tone our bodies, but what if we’re unable to do these types of whole-body exercise?

Weight lifting is an appropriate exercise for any age, but especially for those who have mobility problems. You can safely lift weights while sitting in your favorite chair as well as standing on your legs.

RELATED: Guide to improve mobility

You’re only required to keep it simple and keep it gentle. Once you’ve built up some muscle mass it’s then okay to move on to heavier weights. Oh! And by the way, speak to your doctor first in case you have an undiagnosed health problem that might need monitoring while you exercise.

Should seniors lift heavyweights?

Not at first.

Start with light weights. You aren’t doing this as a punishment. It’s meant to be fun. As such, only lift what your body is capable of doing.

Exercise is all about getting the blood flowing around the body, making the heart pump a little bit harder than usual, and building muscle mass. But don’t overdo it!

RELATED: Guide to strengthen leg muscles

At what age should you stop lifting heavyweights?

As long as you are healthy and your doctor has agreed, you can continue to lift weights at any age. However, many seniors, as they get older, suffer from high blood pressure. Lifting heavy weights temporarily increases blood pressure. So, if you suffer from this problem, it might be better to try another resistance training method rather than heavy lifting.

If you are able, weight training helps with breathing, increases stamina, builds muscle mass and helps with balance. So, as long as it’s safe to do so, continue weight training for as long as you can.

Other weightlifting Tips for seniors:

First, see your doctor before starting on any weight training program. Next, start with light weights. You can do this at home using canned food. Don’t forget to ‘warm-up’ before your session and ‘cool down’ afterward. Only do as much as you feel comfortable with. If you become sore or a joint is painful to the touch, stop exercising until it gets better. If the pain continues, seek medical advice. Finally, enjoy the exercise and have fun!

Talk to your doctor first

Always talk to your doctor or a qualified physiotherapist before attempting any type of exercise program. You may have a medical condition that will cause problems. So, follow professional advice every time.

Always warm-Up and Cool down

It might be the most boring part of an exercise session, but warming up is vitally important. Weight training puts a lot of strain on your body. You have to adjust your body so it’ll accept the extra demands. Stretch the main muscles in your body and get rid of any aches and pains before you start. Your warm-up period should be between 5 and 10 minutes.

Likewise, after your exercises, allow your body to return to normal. Stretch your muscles just like you did in the ‘warm-up’.  Doing these before and after any exercise session will help prevent cramps, reduce the likelihood of being sore the following day, and will help reduce injuries in general.

Listen to your body

Pay attention to what your body tells you about the exercises. Yes, it’s normal to be a bit sore afterwards, but if you wake up the next day and can hardly walk, then you’ve overdone it. Also, exercise should never make you feel dizzy or light-headed. If any joint is red, swollen or painful to the touch then miss your exercise for that day. If any of these problems continue, seek medical advice.

Start small

If you haven’t done much exercise for a while, start small and slowly work your way up. Dancing or walking is a good way to start and can be fun too. These exercises help to prepare your body for the hard work of a weight training routine. They also help maintain bone density and muscle mass. Once you’ve built yourself up using low resistance, weight-bearing exercises like these, you can then move on to weight training.

Stick with Light weights

You’re not twenty years old anymore, so don’t act like it. You don’t have to use heavy weights to exercise. As long as your body experiences a little bit of resistance, you’re doing some good. If you use heavy weights in your routine, you risk injury to your muscles and joints.

Don’t go out and buy expensive dumbells and other equipment at first. Until you know that weight lifting is for you, use common items you can find around the house. Canned food is a good way to start. No, don’t eat it yet! Hold a can in each hand and do simple lifts. As you increase your weights, you can load shopping bags with two or more cans and use those. Canned food has its weight printed on the label so you’ll know exactly how much your lifting.

Don’t be ashamed to stay with the light weights. They’ll be doing your body good, even if you’re not keeping up with the youngsters.

What’s next?

You need to exercise regularly otherwise you’ve wasted the effort, but don’t overdo it. You should do some aerobic exercise every day (or as often as recommended) because this helps to increase endurance.

If you can, it’s best to incorporate weight training into a program of mixed aerobic exercises. But, if you can’t, then just stick with the weights. Check other useful exercises for seniors.

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