5 Reasons Why Older Women Should Lift Weights

By admin
Jul 07 2024

5 Reasons Why Older Women Should Lift Weights

In a society that often correlates youth with peak physical fitness, many might think they’re past the prime age for starting a weightlifting regimen. However, scientific research begs to differ, presenting compelling evidence that lifting weights is beneficial at virtually any age. 

We reached out to our members at Barbell Beauties and Women who Crossfit with a question: “Why should older women lift weights?” The response was incredibly inspiring! Our amazing community of women did not hold back in sharing their powerful stories. They enthusiastically highlighted the transformative impacts of weightlifting, from enhanced strength and health to improved mental and emotional well-being.

58 years old – crossfitting for 9 years or so. BEST THING EVER. I most often workout 6 days a week. I focus on quality movement patterns and mobility in end ranges first, then load. I love to workout and I love the outside-of-the-gym benefits – I love to hike, garden, run, golf, cook for many hours at a time, and just generally be active – crossfit gives me that functional fitness for life. During the spring garden cleanup, I joke that I crossfit all year so I can do the heavy work of the garden clean-up – LOL. It really does help, and I can stay in a low squat for hours when weeding and just generally move well through the garden. Also, two years ago I finally was able to get some physical therapy to address the c-section I had years ago with my son. It’s been a trying and great experience, I reframed things and my workouts…one day I was back squatting +/-200#, and then I was using a PVC pipe with no load when addressing the scar tissue and rebuilding function/neuropathways etc. I’m not lifting as heavy (yet) as I did before starting PT, but my movement patterns are stronger and better and just generally more coordinated – which I’ll take any day! I’ve started over before, eg. after the c-section, I could walk about 7-8 steps before being in horrific pain, so I considered that my starting line. 7 or 8 steps was a marathon then, and slowly function came back, as it is now. I wish this type of training was around when I was in high school! I would have avoided the injuries experienced in the sports I played then and in college, and endurance sports later. I think Crossfit can be a lifelong pursuit – I hope it helps me be climbing mountains when I’m 90+. 🙂 I remember the first day in my current gym so clearly. I was not fit, at all, – highly overworked and over stressed in all aspects of life for many years – and the very basic scaled workout was SUPER hard for me – afterwards, I went to my car and burst into tears and sobbed – not because I was sad about my low fitness level, not at all (I never beat myself up about that…I was doing the best I could on all fronts and knew that) but because I was happy, I knew I had found something that would help me reconnect with my inner athlete and reclaim that part of myself that I had not been able to rebuild and honor for too many years. I like how it feels to be this physically strong for all aspects of my life. – Ann Kasunich

These testimonials are a testament to the positive changes and empowerment that come with lifting weights, especially as we age. Thank you to all who shared their journeys, proving that strength knows no age!

Here are five scientifically-backed reasons why it’s never too late to start lifting weights and achieve your best physical shape.

1. Increased Muscle Mass and Strength

Age-related muscle loss, known as sarcopenia, can start as early as your 30s and accelerates with age if left unchecked. Research published in “The Journal of the American Medical Association” demonstrates that individuals over 60 can significantly increase muscle mass and strength through resistance training. Regular weightlifting stimulates muscle growth, regardless of starting age, by inducing muscle protein synthesis. This process is crucial for maintaining functional independence and a high quality of life as you age.

Photo taken last year, my friend and gym partner on the left (65) and I’m 53 in this photo, we just finished a Crossfit competition (Masters) July 2024 we’re entered in a Fit Mummas Crossfit, we’re not the fastest or the strongest but we do pretty well considering.

For me, I don’t want to end up frail and broken like many of my family elders and my 7 grandchildren think I’m the bomb cos I can do pullups and push-ups 😁

Hera Tewerawera Awa Graham

2. Enhanced Bone Density

Osteoporosis, a condition characterized by weak and brittle bones, poses a significant risk as we age, particularly for post-menopausal women. Weightlifting can combat this. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, activities that put stress on bones can trigger bone-forming cells into action, thereby increasing bone density. Studies have shown that consistent weightlifting can not only stop bone loss but in some cases, even reverse it, reducing the risk of fractures.

I started CrossFit at 50 and am now 62. I took up OLY the last year and a half and now compete. I love CrossFit and the community. I feel strong and healthy. It’s my anti-aging open secret. I continue to get stronger. I race dragon boats in the summer and plan to try Hyrox this fall. –Robin Richardson

3. Improved Metabolic Health

Lifting weights can have a profound effect on your metabolic health. A study from the University of New Mexico highlighted that muscle mass is a key factor in enhancing glucose metabolism, which helps in managing or preventing type 2 diabetes. Moreover, increased muscle mass from weightlifting contributes to a higher basal metabolic rate (BMR), meaning more calories are burned at rest. This is essential for weight management and overall health, especially as metabolic rates tend to decline with age.

4. Better Mental Health and Cognitive Function

The benefits of weightlifting aren’t just physical. Research from the “Archives of Neurology” suggests that regular exercise, including weightlifting, not only reduces anxiety and depression but also supports cognitive function as we age. Engaging in resistance training can enhance memory, executive function, and slows cognitive decline. This is likely due to increased blood flow to the brain and the growth of brain cells stimulated by physical activity.

I’m 54 with stage 4 breast cancer. I am 4 years into that. Mets to brain two years ago. I try to get to the gym 3-4 times a week. I started CrossFit about 6 years ago and have loved every minute. I also try to PR at least a handful of times per month. I have participated in run two Festivus games. Planning on my 3rd this October.

Kelly Kaniasty Etzel

5. Decreased Risk of Chronic Disease

Heart disease remains a leading cause of death globally, and lifting weights can play a key role in cardiovascular health. The American Heart Association notes that moderate weightlifting can reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, increasing HDL (good) cholesterol, and lowering blood pressure. Furthermore, resistance training has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation, both of which are crucial in preventing chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.

“57 next week here. I’m on a plan to get off high blood pressure and statins. More repetition than heavyweight for me, but I have osteoporosis in my family and nothing is touched me yet. I’m just a few years into the journey, but feel very strong now.” – Sarah Elizabeth Wiggins

I started CrossFit at 49 & have been doing it consistently for almost 9 years. I have been in the best shape, and I plan to continue as long as I possibly can. The picture was during the CrossFit Quaterfinals last weekend doing a clean & jerk at 115 lbs. Not too shabby for 58 years old. – Lashell Scogin Carrick

In conclusion, science strongly supports the notion that it’s never too late to benefit from lifting weights. Whether you’re looking to enhance physical strength, improve bone density, boost metabolic health, maintain mental acuity, or reduce the risk of chronic disease, weightlifting offers a path to not only extend life but also to enhance its quality, regardless of when you start.

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