ageist editors | march 29, 2018

why lifting weights is perfectly fine

There is an interesting view I get from some people in our community about an aversion to strength training.  It seems to be rooted in the false idea that lifting heavy weight is either dangerous or will turn one into the Hulk. This must come from images of 1980s bodybuilders. They look freaky, no doubt. But the only way any of us normal people will get like that is with some serious doses of anabolic steroids. No ‘roids, no Hulk.

The safety issue is only real if you are not getting instruction. We humans are designed to work hard and carry load. With proper instruction, it’s very safe. 

Why engage in strength training? 50 percent of women in the UK over 50 can’t get off of a sofa without using their arms. Imagine if they fell down; what would happen? Then there is the bone density issue, especially for women. Ladies, if you want to keep your bones strong, you need to put them under load. Regular stress will cause the bones to adapt and strengthen; same principle as your muscles. Yoga is great — we love it — and ditto Pilates. But, I seriously doubt that these will be putting enough load on your skeleton to stimulate bone growth. In terms of longevity, falling and breaking a hip is to be avoided.

This negative attitude seems to be generational. The younger women I speak to are fine with lifting. They don’t have negative images about it. It's only us older folks, the ones whose muscle mass is shrinking and bones are become frail, the very ones who need it most, who have an aversion to it.