As we become older - even in to our fifties or sixties is weight training something we should not be considering?

Perhaps it is something that should be given up at that age if weight training is already being undertaken?

Now in my sixth decade (gulp!) I feel fitter and stronger than ever due to my changed lifestyle, but are there advantages that can occur by undertaking weight training for the older person?

Muscle Loss

A significant loss of muscle mass and strength occurs by approximately 15% in the sixth and seventh decade of life, and 30% thereafter with perhaps a more dramatic decrease in women because they have less muscle mass.

The loss of muscle mass can be a result of shrinking muscle fibers (atrophy), loss of muscle fiber (sacropenia), or a combination of both. This loss of muscle fibers results in fewer type II muscle fibers, which would negatively affect muscular power.

So should we avoid weight training as we get older?

Well it's quite the opposite in fact!

Advantages of a weight training program:

More mature adults can reap the benefits of weight training, even from an exercise program that includes lifting weights just a few times each week to try and combat this deterioration of muscle mass.

Improved Mental Health

Strength training, particularly in conjunction with regular aerobic exercise, can also have a profound impact on a person's mental and emotional health.

It can perhaps provide similar improvements in depression as anti-depressant medications.

People feel better when they are stronger and it can boost self-confidence and self-esteem which has a strong impact on the overall quality of life for a mature person.

Reducing Chronic Illness

There are numerous benefits to strength training regularly, particularly as you grow older.

It can be very powerful in reducing the signs and symptoms of numerous diseases and chronic conditions, among them:

heart disease
back pain

Reduced Risk of Falls and Injuries

Poor balance and flexibility can contribute in older people to falls and broken bones. Such falls and injury can result in significant disability and, in some cases, fatal complications.

Increases in muscle mass, strength, and muscular power and balance as a result of a weight training program can help reduce occurrences, likelihood and severity of falls and the associated fear.

Proper Weight Maintenance

Having more muscle mass increases an individual's metabolic rate. Muscle is active tissue that consumes calories while stored fat uses very little energy. Strength training can provide up to a 15% increase in metabolic rate, which is enormously helpful for weight loss and long-term weight control.

Improved Glucose Control

Many mature adults have type II diabetes—with hugely increasing numbers in recent years in addition to them being at greater risk for heart disease, and diabetes is also the leading cause of blindness in older adults.

Strength training along with a calorie controlled diet can make improvements in glucose control that are comparable to taking diabetes medication.

Healthier Heart

Heart disease risk is lower when the body is leaner. Strength training is important for cardiac health due to increased strength, flexibility and increased aerobic capacity.

Heart associations recommend strength training as a way to reduce risk of heart disease and as a therapy for patients in cardiac rehabilitation programs.

Improved sleeping patterns

Regular exercise can improve the quality of sleep by allowing the individual to get to sleep quicker, more deeply, awaken less often awakened and for longer. Again the benefits obtained as a result of strength training are comparable to treatment with medication but without the side effects or the expense.

Increased bone density

Studies have shown that lifting weights two or three times a week increases strength by building muscle mass and bone density. Post-menopausal women can lose 1-2% of their bone mass annually.

Recent studies have shown that strength training increases bone density and reduces the risk for fractures among women aged 50-70.

Medical Advice

However, some people should check with their doctor before they start becoming more physically active.

Experts advise that if you have a chronic disease, such as a heart condition, arthritis, diabetes, or high blood pressure, or symptoms that could be due to a chronic disease, it's important that you're under the care of a doctor and talk to him or her about the types and amounts of physical activity that are appropriate for you.


I think the advantages of weight training as we get older are easy to be seen, so why not embark on a healthy weight training program if you are not already doing so after taking medical advice if required, no matter what age!

If you are already weight training keep it up!

Author's Bio: 

My name is Kenny McDowell - 50 years young ! I was fat not so long ago and have in just 2 years transformed my physique from what it was losing 60 lbs on the way to become a champion fitness model. To find out how I did it and see if you can do the same - just visit My Story page