Strength Training: When Is It Too Late To Start?

I recently read about a man who lost his wife after many years of marriage. He also lost a daughter at about the same time. He was at odds as to what to do with his free time so he decided to go to a nearby fitness center. A personal trainer there, considerably younger, helped him implement an aerobic and strength training program.

He started exercising when he was 98 years old and recently celebrated his 102nd birthday. He has significantly improved his strength, muscle mass, balance and range of motion. His trainer, by the way, is 70 years of age.

Most of us are familiar with osteoporosis – the loss of bone mass due to aging. Some of us will know the term “osteopenia” – the early stages of bone loss. A friend of mine in his early 50s developed the latter, even though he’s an excellent athlete. His focus was on cycling, however, which did little for strengthening his bones. He recently implemented a strength training program.

Many of us may not know what sarcopenia is. It’s the loss of muscle mass due to aging. If we don’t exercise regularly we lose about 10% of our muscle mass per decade, beginning at about age 40. The way to slow this loss is to implement a structured strength training program.

Those who lift weights, no matter their age, can increase their muscle mass. Ninety-year-old men have doubled their leg strength with a 12-week strength training program. Individuals who follow a strength training program have significantly improved many factors that are linked to preventing diabetes and other chronic diseases. They end up with lower blood levels of triglycerides, sugar, insulin, cholesterol as well as lower blood pressure. Other than that. . . .

So when is it too late to start a strength training program? The answer, of course, is that it’s never too late. How about tomorrow? It’s a new year and a new day.

This entry was posted in Fitness Beyond 50, Strength Training. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Strength Training: When Is It Too Late To Start?

  1. Barb Langenhan says:

    Thanks Harry. I’m going to pass this on to Mark’s mom. Mark has been trying to get her to setup a schedule with a Personal Trainer at her local YMCA. Also, he’s been talking with her about the importance of walking. His mom will be 85 this coming Sunday. Hopefully a good motivator for her.

  2. Sandy Hackney says:

    Not only is it never too late to start weight training, it is never too soon! Weight training has been called The Fountain of Youth. Start it now and you will be amazed at the increase in general body strength, general well-being and just plain happiness. Do it!

Comments are closed.