Weight training is not just for athletes, bodybuilders, or even the young. Lifting weights benefits our bodies at any age and every weight level. Staying active is important as we age because later in life is when muscle mass and strength begin to decline naturally and benefit from extra support more than ever. Weight training is also good for the mind and mood, stimulating brain chemistry and lifting your mood.
But starting strength training after 40 can be intimidating. It is tempting to think that it is too late – that your age will prevent you from achieving your goals in the gym.
It won’t … unless you let it.
You can build muscle at any age. While we do tend to begin losing muscle mass as we age, hypertrophy – the process of building muscle – still works at any age. Pushing your muscles to the limit creates microscopic tears in the muscle, which get rebuilt with additional, bulkier muscle tissue causing the growth that both looks and feels better. This process slows with age but does not stop.
The benefits of weight training after 40 go beyond the aesthetics and strength of expanded muscle mass. Strength training affects men’s health in many ways, all of which are more and more welcome as we age:
ENERGY AND FOCUS
Weight training has been shown to increase overall energy levels, attention, alertness, and engagement in men over 40. By stimulating blood flow, hormones, metabolism, and brain chemistry, lifting weights energizes and lifts outlook and sense of wellbeing.
Muscle burns calories and fat grams even while at rest. So bulking up your shoulders, chest, and arms will bring the positive side effect of a flatter stomach too. So enjoy your meal – you’ve earned it.
FLEXIBILITY AND RANGE OF MOTION
Weight training has been shown to reduce the symptoms of rheumatic illnesses like fibromyalgia and arthritis. By lowering inflammation, pain is reduced, and range of motion is restored or extended.
When stimulated, your muscles produce more insulin receptors. Through this process, the muscles feed on glucose to trigger their own recovery response, lowering and stabilizing blood sugar.
Balance issues creep into our lives as the tiny muscles throughout our spine, hips, and legs begin to shrink with age. Weight training reverses or slows this process, helping the thousands of intricate balance muscles to fire in sync and harmony like an orchestra playing a symphony.
If you have not worked out before (or not in a few years), you will want to touch base with a doctor even before a personal trainer. This can now be done by phone which is discussed further down in this article. But the doctor can green light a healthy workout after some straightforward but valuable discussion and possible testing.
After getting the doc’s OK, invest in a personal trainer even if only at the start. And find one that specializes in guys our age – there are good ones whose expertise will protect you from injury.
Quickly checking your health before starting a workout has never been easier. Telehealth is a new resource for men. Opt Health exists to help men address discrete health questions on their terms.
Opt Health is a telemedicine platform that reconnects men with wellness, fitness, strength, and sexual vitality through scientific preventive medicine. From your own home, you can schedule with a physician, meet one-on-one via video conference, receive test results, and have medications delivered to your door.
For questions, inquiries, or appointments, don’t hesitate to contact us. Get personalized support and insight from top-tier physicians available 24/7.