Like it or not, if we’re lucky, we’ll all age beyond our youth. It’s a privilege not all humans are able to experience. How those years pass by is as much a product of our genetics as it is our lifestyles.
Since we cannot control our genetics, we are wise to stay active. Walks in the park are nice, and keeping a strong cardiorespiratory system is great, but there is so much more.
We want independence. We want to hang on to that independence as long as possible.
Independence later in life is the combination of functioning mental & physical faculties, both of which are positively affected by lifting weights. As a bonus, mood and health are also positively affected.
If you want to have a little fun, ask someone who has just finished a really intense workout what 14+7 equals? They won’t pass out, but they’ll likely have to stop moving to think more clearly.
In the long run, however, folks who lift maintain healthier brains. We’ve known for a long time that cardio contributes positively to mental acuity, but more recently we are finding evidence that weight training has benefits too.
You don’t have to go far to test out this theory. Gyms are full of active, aging adults who are hard to believe when they tell you their age. It’s not just that they’re buff. They’re sharp as tacks.
Strength is a metric which has many measures. You can measure strength by stabilization, force production, endurance, explosiveness to name a few. Most productive strength is a healthy combination of all versions of strength.
In the long run, our physical independence is completely dependent on how much we can accomplish without help. This includes, but is not limited to, our ability not to fall down when life throws us a curveball.
Life, in fact, throws many curveballs. If it didn’t, hip fractures wouldn’t be a common fear amongst aging adults.
Loose sand, ice, or cracks in the sidewalk are easier to navigate when we have the strength to shift our base of support under our center of gravity. We get this via lifting.
It’s no secret that exercise improves mood. Many, this writer included, exercise to keep the darkness at bay, but it’s more than that.
Staying in shape through lifting is a confidence booster. Knowing that we can take care of ourselves and look good in a pair of jeans, as good as we can anyway, is a huge contributor to mood.
In the long run, life is going to take away as much as it gives. To better navigate emotional challenges, keep your physical well-being precious. Stay strong physically to stay strong emotionally.
Call lifters narcissists and you may be right. Self-care might look like self-obsession from the outside, but there is a value in being self-observant.
Exercise is a keystone habit, for which a regular lifting habit would qualify. Keystone habits are habits which carry reciprocal other habits. Because exercising adults self-identify as healthy, to preserve this perception that makes other choices which are considered “healthy.”
It’s not unheard of to find that lifters are also healthier eaters or obsessed with quality dental care. They may visit the doctor more regularity, as they may be more sensitive to change in the body.
Because they spend more time in front of the mirror, they may notice changes more quickly than their non-lifting counterparts.
The great thing is you are never too late to start a lifting habit. YouTube is full of people older than you, lifting more weight than you ever imagined you could.
The most interesting stories are from people who just started lifting, but the most impressive stories are the folks who’ve been consistent their whole lives. When they talk about lifting, it’s like listening to the Dalai Llama speak about meditation.
It’s more than an activity. It’s a way of life; a better one.