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Fitness After 40...The weight room is calling

By Kate Kane-Joyce

Today's 40 year-plus generations don't feel like they should be slowing down. But even though the mind is willing, the flesh, inevitably, will start to weaken, after a time. While science and infomercials are trying to create (bottle, package and sell you) the Fountain of Youth, you already posses the ability to combat the loss of muscle and strength that can come with age.

Lifting weights becomes increasingly more important after 40 because the stress on the body (when exercises are performed properly) yields positive results.

  1. Microscopic tear and repair = stronger muscle. When you feel mild soreness the day after a weightlifting workout, you have torn that muscle on the cellular level. This stimulates the body's immune response and the tissue that is rebuilt is stronger than what was there before. This is one of our amazing adaptation skills, and enables us to tackle the same weights with ease in time.
  2. The body produces a Human Growth Hormone that aids in our development when we are young and continues until about the age of 40, when production slowly diminishes. Along with good nutrition and sleep habits, exercise can help the body continue to produce HGH. Higher levels of this hormone have been shown in studies to increase muscle quality and bone mass.
  3. Speaking of bone mass, our bodies have an efficient system when it comes to the skeletal structure. Bone remodeling occurs where specific demands are placed on the skeleton. Bone is added where the body experiences stress, and removed where it is not required. What this means is that if a person is sedentary, their bone does not receive enough stimulus to maintain optimum strength and there is a greater likelihood of fracture. Lifting weights and running (also vigorous walking) create sufficient impact to the bones to encourage bone remodeling, and keep a healthier level of bone mass.

If you are unsure of where to start with weight-training, it is a goods idea to enlist the help of a personal trainer, or an experienced friend. It can be confusing with all of the equipment available to use, and it is a good idea to have some guidance in the beginning.


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