One of the key components of getting physically fit is to implement a program of lifting weights, no matter what your age. Research has shown that those people who have some kind of weightlifting program have better overall health and experience fewer health problems than people who don’t lift any weights.
Don’t let the thought of starting a weight training program scare you, even if you have never really lifted weights before. Weightlifting is a great addition to other fitness programs that involve aerobic activity like running.
Weightlifting is an anaerobic activity, basically meaning an activity without oxygen. Anaerobic activities are more intense and burn carbohydrates for energy. People on a Paleo diet, or any other low carb diet burn fat for energy instead of carbohydrates.
So how does lifting weights help in your overall health? More and more studies have shown that people on a fitness regimen that includes weight training can reap the benefits of losing weight, increasing muscle mass, reducing cardiovascular risks, reducing cancer risks, controlling chronic health conditions like diabetes and arthritis, and increasing your life span.
It is now proven that people from all ages can benefit from a weight training program, and that includes senior citizens. A weight training program can be modified for the elderly, but most older people who have started on a program of lifting have seen remarkable results in flexibility, stamina, and improved mood.
Develop a weight training program that will involve working your upper body on certain days and your lower body on other days, with one day out of a week used for recovery from weightlifting. You don’t want to work the same muscles every day because they need time to rest and recover from the stress you have put on them. Overexertion can result in muscle strains and other injuries.
Don’t forget to add some for of sit-ups for your abdominal muscles to keep your body balanced. You can do sit-ups almost every day because you won’t be using heavy weights to strain them.
Here are some key guidelines for your lifting program:
- Don’t forget to breathe during lifts – breathe out when lifting the weight
- You can use barbells, dumbbells, or both
- Make sure you have good posture
- Have at least one day of rest a week with no lifting
- Lift weights at least twice a week
- If lifting heavier weights, make sure you have a partner
- Perform a full range of motion in your lifts
- Start with light weights that you can easily do 10 repetitions
Your upper body workout will involve muscles for your chest, shoulders, back, biceps, and triceps. The major muscles for the upper body workout are your key muscles and they include the pectorals for the chest, the deltoids for the shoulders, the trapezius and the latissimus dorsi for the back, the triceps and biceps for the arms.
The lower body muscles include the hamstrings, quadriceps, and calf muscles. The hamstrings are the big muscles of the legs and consist of three muscles and are the muscles often injured in running activities.
Here is a quick list for exercises for the muscle groups:
For the chest – bench press, dumbbell flys,
For the back – seated cable rows, bar pull-downs, pull-ups
For the shoulders – lateral dumbbell raises, reverse flys, military press
For the hamstrings – dumbbell lunges, straight-leg deadlifts
For the quadriceps – squats, leg extensions, leg presses
For calves – heel raises
For biceps – dumbbell or barbell curls
For triceps – tricep presses and pushdowns
Starting a weightlifting program is one of the best things you can do to help you lead a more active and healthy life. Start your program now and don’t forget to stretch!