Many people believe that as you age your metabolism automatically slows down and the weight creep is inevitable. While this is partially true, there is one important thing you can do to keep your metabolism revving like you were in your thirties. Strength train. Strength training allows you to build and maintain muscle. The more muscle you have, the greater your resting metabolic rate will be. This means that as you are sitting on the couch flipping through channels your body will still be burning a greater number of calories. If you are able to maintain the same muscle mass in your 50’s and 60’s as you did when you were younger, you will have little to no decline in metabolism as you age.
Aside from increased muscle mass and improved metabolism, there are a myriad of benefits from strength training including:
- Stronger bones (prevent osteoporosis)
- Improved balance, coordination, and mobility (reduced risk of falling)
- More strength for every day activities (I.E- carry groceries, open bottles, lifting objects)
- Reduce the symptoms or prevent many chronic conditions (arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, back pain).
- Better sleep
- Improved mental well being, self confidence, and cognitive function
If you have never strength trained before it is great to start with the help of an expert like a certified personal trainer. If a trainer is not feasible, there are plenty of safe exercises you can do on your own, such as squats, push ups (modified to your knees or using the wall), and bicep curls with light weights or soup cans. This is a great guide from the CDC to get started with a strength training program. Keep in mind that as little as twenty minutes of resistance training twice per week is enough to make improvements in strength and your overall health.
Heather Mason is a Registered Dietitian who holds a Master’s Degree in Nutrition Science. She has a passion for debunking nutrition myths and helping people discover delicious and healthy food. You can read more posts from her on her blog, Nutty Nutrition.