This article is aimed at those guys who have never used resistance training as part of their fitness routine. The good news is that it is never too late to start, and you will yield a tangible, noticeable health and wellbeing benefits from resistance training, if you are committed to your training and remain committed.
There are several forms of resistance training designed to building strength, however this article will focus on weight lifting, given its popularity within the community, and availability of gyms offering weight lifting facilities. The guy writing this article has lifted weights since the age of 18 years old, and still does at the ripe old age of 56, so the focus will be on weight lifting. Weight lifting is not just for body builders, although bodybuilding is the primary causes fir its dramatic rise in popularity. Weightlifting has now become accepted as a mainstream healthy endeavour across society. Certainly my motivations for lifting are different now than in my teens, twenties, thirties and even forties where strength and body aesthetics were my primary goals. These days weight lifting for me is more about maintaining my health and wellbeing, to maintain a good quality of life.
So what are the benefits of resistance training for the middle aged man? Well there are the proven measurable physical benefits such as greater bone mineral density, greater retention of muscle mass through the aging process, increased Testosterone levels, reduced incidence of age related diseases, such as diabetes and of course you will burn more calories. The associated improvements in your wellbeing are signifincat, for example, you will be less prone to injury when performing everyday tasks, and reduced risk of developing age related diseases such as diabetes. Check out The Midlife Man article Benefits of Weight Training for the Middle Aged Man.
Weight lifting is also a great complementary endeavour for other sports.
Done properly, weight lifting is a safe and efficient fitness activity that almost any middle aged man can do.
It is very important to have a comprehensive medical examination prior to undertaking any significant increase in physical activity, particularly for a man in middle age. This is doubly important for someone who has led an inactive lifestyle in recent years.
Once your doctor has confirmed there are no medical reasons precluding you from undergoing strenuous physical exercise you are good to go.
If there is one piece if advice I can offer to someone considering taking up weight lifting it is go to a gym, don’t buy weights to use at home. There are a lot of good reasons, aside from the cost of good weight lifting equipment, to use a gym and not try to create one at home. Having said that, finding a gym that is a good fit for the middle aged man can be hard work. It is also important to find a gym that feels right for you and is convenient to access, otherwise you won’t use it. Going to the gym should be easy for you not an inconvenience, so that training can fit in with your life. CheckoutThe Midlife Man article What a Middle Aged Man Should Look For In a Gym.
As a beginner to weight training you should consider getting a Personal Trainer . You are a beginner irrespective of your ag and weight lifting needs to be performed correctly to ensure best environment to improve strength and condition and also to avoid injury. Initial instruction is best done with a one-on-one trainer. This initial learning program may only be 3-4 weeks. Once you have the basics down you should be fine to continue on your own, although a Personal Trainer also provides other services, such as developing programs considering your specific needs, and motivation, if you are not the self-motivated type.
Check out The Midlife Man article Why You Should Hire a Personal Trainer for Weight Training.
Be sure to keep a record of you weight training, particularly when you are starting out. A journal helps you remember your routine, and also tracks your progress so that you can see your gains over time. Journals can be hard copy or one of the numerous Smartphone apps
As with any sport any physical change in your body from weight training will not happen overnight. Gains in strength and improvements in your physical wellbeing will eventually be noticeable. I strongly suggest a beginner sticking with a weights program for at least 6 months before deciding whether is weight lifting is for them.
Cardio should also be part of your fitness program. Weight lifting for strength will only make minimal improvements in your cardiovascular fitness. Cardio doesn’t have to be integrated in your gym work out, it could be from other activities such as jogging or cycling with the family on the weekend, or playing sport with the kids.
You will train better with better fuel in your body. This will not necessarily be a radical change for most people, but then again a lot of people do need to focus a little on cutting down the high fat, high salt junk foods, and have a more balanced diet including some fruit and vegetables. If you do this you probably won’t need any vitamins or supplements. There are plenty of articles on the web promoting healthy eating, that doesn’t require an obsessive dietary regime.
Just remember weight training is a lot harder on a poor diet, it’s your choice.
You will notice you appetite increasing as your body get used to lifting weights, which is a good sign you are burning calories.
There is no point in exercising to improve your fitness only to stop when you think you are fit enough, because when you stop your gains will evaporate, it’s called “muscle atrophy”. Use it or lose it is a fact. Your program, be it 2 or 3 times per week, needs to become part of your life for the rest of your life.
Any weight training should include Stretching and Warmup to minimise the risk of injury. The weights program is normally divided in to exercises covering each body part.
For the beginner middle aged man a good weight lifting program would likely be a full body program i.e. all major muscle groups are exercised on every work out, i.e. legs, back, biceps, chest, shoulders, triceps.
Weight lifting routines should be changed every 3 months or so, to avoid muscles getting used to the load placed on them by the exercises and also to keep you feeling mentally fresh.
It also helps to have a week off from weight lifting every so often if you have trained regularly, every 3 months or so. This doesn’t mean don’t exercise for a week, it means do something else other than weights.
Check out The Midlife Man article Weightlifting Basics for the Middle Aged Man.
The objective of lifting weights is to overload muscles a little so that the repair themselves and became large and stronger. This requires rest period of about 48 hours between exercising that muscle group again. So if you are doing a full body routine you should only train every second day, and training each body part 3 times a week is about the limit.
Be aware of your body for early signs of injury. Older men are more prone to injury than a younger person, and need to be vigilant for signs of injury or overtraining which can led to injury. Smooth, well performed weight lifting exercises are not likely to cause sudden injury, but you may notice pain slowly building in some body parts. This is a sign to take it easy, perhaps modify your program a little to take the load off the body part indicating pain.
Check out The Midlife Man article Weight Training for Middle Aged Men-Avoid Injury.
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