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2 Weightlifting Sessions Per Week Transform Your Body-Especially Over 60

| Super User | Contour

Gym memberships aren't just for bodybuilders and elite athletes. It is recommended that all people do a moderate to intense muscle strengthening workout twice a week.

Yes, that means you, too!

This is especially true for people over 60. Around age 30, adults begin to lose muscle mass. It is estimated that adults lose 3-5 percent of their lean muscle mass every decade. In face, inactive adults can lose up to 8% of it every ten years. On top of that, their metabolism slows, and they accumulate fat.

Age-related muscle loss is unavoidable, but heavy weightlifting can help. Weight training twice a week is the ideal approach to build muscle while still allowing your body to relax and recuperate. Strength training is most beneficial when incorporated this way, according to strength and conditioning coach Michael Boyle. One weekly workout could give you some benefits, but you'd be extremely sore afterwards. Twice a week is less jarring for the body.

Relaxation is also important for muscle function. While no one gets better at strength training unless they work hard, exercise physiologist Neal Pire, C.S.C.S., says you get better at your workouts with proper rest between them. Take a day off following strength training sessions to let your body recover.

It Extends Your Life

A person's life expectancy increases with their muscular mass. One study in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research is powerful: Researchers discovered that adults over 65 with little muscle in their arms and legs are more likely to die. The findings were especially bad for women. Women with weak legs and arms are 63 times more likely to die, while men with weak muscles are 11.4 times more likely to die. That project looked at almost 800 people.

Another Preventive Medicine study confirms that weightlifting extends life. Lifting weights twice a week for adults over 65 reduced mortality by 46%. A new study also backs up those findings, suggesting that older people who participate in strength training programs may live longer.

Your Heart Will Thank You

Many people know that weightlifting is excellent for your heart, but you'd be surprised at how little effort it takes to gain positive effects. Lifting weights for just about one hour each week improved heart and cardiovascular health.

That’s right -- working out for less than an hour every week can reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke by 40% to 70%. That means 20 minutes of weight training twice a week will greatly improve your heart's health. In fact, the risk of elevated cholesterol is reduced by 32% and the risk of metabolic syndrome is reduced by 29%.

D. C. Lee, an associate professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University, says that just two sets of bench presses in less than five minutes could be good for people who want to get in shape more quickly. Muscle burns calories. Muscle helps joints and bones move, and it also aids metabolism. The importance of this cannot be overstated.

Your Bones Will Be Stronger

Age makes our bones weak and brittle, so weightlifting and resistance activities can also help us age-proof them. A study followed 101 elderly women (65+) with poor bone mass. Those who did two 30-minute, high-intensity resistance workouts each week saw their bone density and shape improve, as well as their ability to do everyday tasks. No one got sick or hurt while exercising, proving that it's never too late to start.

The study's authors think that high-intensity resistance exercises could be a good treatment for osteoporosis in postmenopausal women with low to very low bone mass.

You'll Avoid Chronic Illness

Could regular weightlifting be the closest thing to eternal youth? It just might be. Doctors have long known that aging increases the risk of diseases like type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

When done weekly, strength training and weightlifting can considerably reduce the risk for all of the age-related chronic diseases listed above, along with mobility issues. That frequent exercising increases muscle, strength, and function and may help prevent several chronic diseases. Training with weights may also help elderly individuals stay active and reduce their risk of chronic disease.

Bye-Bye, Bad Habits

Would you believe that weightlifting may help older smokers to kick the habit? According to Nicotine & Tobacco Research, smokers who sought to quit were twice as likely to succeed if they also lifted weights. Smokers in the weightlifting group had regular counseling and nicotine patches. They trained twice a week for three months.

Author and physiologist Joseph Ciccolo, Ph. D., of The Miriam Hospital's Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine, believes resistance training is another potent tool to help smokers ditch tobacco for good.