When you retire you’ll have so much time to travel, explore, and do fun, adventurous things. It would be a tragedy if your body prevented you from making the most of that time!
I used to think the ravages of time would eventually condemn me to a life where I couldn’t take care of myself, and where the most exciting thing in my life was "Meatloaf Mondays" at the retirement home. But this isn't true.
Old age is a choice.
Your habits determine what old age looks like for you. Of course genetics play a role in this, as they do in anything related to health. That doesn't mean you can't increase your odds of staying, agile, strong and independent in your twilight years.
"OMG awesome! Sign me up! How do you do it? What's the secret to saying young?"
Well! So glad you asked!
Lifting weights is the “secret” to maintaining your quality of life as you age. It’s the secret to keeping your adventurous spirit aligned with your body’s capabilities, and keeping you out of a nursing home.
Lifting heavy things, and lifting heavy things well, does a number of astounding things for the body. Let’s go into detail at how you should lift to live your best life at any age.
Get strong in the basics
Get strong in the fundamental movements (Push, Pull, Squat, Hinge, Carry, Tumbling/Groundwork). Seek the road to mastery over these movements. I stole this from Dan John’s Intervention by the way. You should read it. And probably read it 10 more times after that.
Lifting weights builds strength and power. Strength is the ability to move heavy things. Power is the ability to move heavy things quickly. Both are important.
As you age you lose these two qualities. If you're not strong, you're more likely to pull something bending over to pick something up off the floor, reaching for the TP, or carrying your groceries.
Strength makes heavy things feel lighter. Moving them becomes easier=> Daily life is easier.
Let’s talk about your butt.
The glutes are the most important muscle group for keeping you strong and pain free.
Everyone sits too much. Sitting too much makes you forget how to use your money makers. When this happens, the low back works harder, putting you at greater risk for injury.
Think about a rowboat. The glutes are your strongest rower. If your strongest rower is asleep, the other rowers tire more quickly. After a short while their rowing technique gets sloppy and they all die at sea. All because their strongest rower was napping.
Point is, to have great, tall posture and strong sturdy back, strengthen your butt with hip thrusts, squats and deadlifts.
Make sure to always focus on movement quality as well, because how you move decides what an exercise does to your body.
Lifting heavy things with the grace of a cheetah hunting it’s prey bulletproofs your joint, increases flexibility, and makes you less susceptible to injury.
In addition to muscle and strength, lifting increases bone density.
Your bones literally become less fragile and more solid when you lift weights.
The statistics for fall related injuries in the US are staggering. You can prevent yourself from becoming a statistic by lifting weights and rolling around on the floor every week.
You aren’t doomed to spend our elder years playing shuffleboard wishing you were hiking up Machu Picchu. You can fight back against age with the consistent practice of strength and movement.
It's your choice.
"Do not go gentle into that good night... Rage, rage against the dying of the light."-Dylan Thomas
By the way, it’s never too late to find the fountain of youth. I’ve had clients in their 60’s drastically improve their quality of life, becoming more anti-fragile, pain free, and agile.
I had one client, let's call her Sarah, who's one of the bravest, kindest, most persistent people I've ever met.
When we first met, standing up from the couch was an exhausting, intimidating, and painful experience for her. After a few months of working her butt off, she could stand up without the ache in her knee or getting of breath. She was even going hiking which she would previously have avoided.
And after a few more months she was getting up and down off the floor unaided! Which was one of her main goals; she wanted to keep up with her wee little grandkids because being there for her family was so important to her. This entailed getting up and down off the ground, because that's what little kids do.
She kept showing up. Even on days when she dreaded the thought of squatting and deadlifting, she kept showing up and squatting and deadlifting. That takes so much drive and fearlessness to do what she did!
The point is, she's awesome. Also, that you can stay fit enough to be the person you want to be and live the life you want to live, no matter the age.