Weight Training for Older Cyclists and Runners Brings Better Health, Bone Strength, and Mobility
Joan MacDonald was 70 years young when she started working out to deal with high blood pressure and acid reflux.
Now look at her!
Mike Harrington went to a personal trainer at 69-years-young to deal with weight gain and improve his golf game.
He recently set a world record for 80 plus for planking: 10 minutes. I can’t do that at 56!
Ruth is 103. Yes, you read that right. 103 years young.
Her trainer talks about working her legs to create additional balance and strength.
Legs, glutes, lower back, and abdominals are the foundation for all of the strength work for older adults, especially runners and cyclists.
You Can Start Strength Training at Any Age
No matter how old you are, it’s never too late to build your strength with weight training.
And the benefits are immense: increased strength, cardiovascular capacity, balance, bone health, and injury prevention.
Women, especially, benefit from strength training at any age. My 83-year-old mother does strength training twice a week and talks about how it helps her with movement and balance.
Weight training for older cyclists and runners provides huge benefits: more endurance, balance, and speed, and better injury prevention.
Muscle Loss Will Happen, But It Can be Negated, Reversed
Loss of muscle starts around age 30 and accelerates after 50, according to research posted in this Washington Post article.
In older adults, the loss of strength and muscle mass can lead to a loss of balance, mobility, and increase the likelihood of falls and bone breaks. And that can lead to many other problems, including a fear of getting around in case of a fall.
When we talk about bone health and falls, we talk about three factors: fall, fragility and force, says Matt Sedgley, sports medicine physician with the MedStar Orthopaedic Institute. Participating in weight-bearing and resistance-training exercises helps develop muscle mass. This may help treat fragility conditions like osteoporosis. So if you fall you have stronger bone density. It may also lead to more cushioning when you do fall.
Strength Training for Older Adults Means Heavier Weights
I see a lot of older adults in the gym doing the same routine on the same machines every day with very light weights.
Machines can be a good place to start, though, since they are safe.
Weight training for older cyclists and runners means using bands and free weights to utilize stabilizer muscles, core strength, and to build balance and stability.
In fact, this article recommends older adults get after their training with gradually increasing their weights and reducing the reps.
In terms of actual exercise selection, following the NSCA’s (National Strength and Conditioning Association) recommendations of implementing multi-joint exercises at moderate intensities of 40-60% 1RM is a great place to start, and the efficacy of several different methods such as resistance bands, pneumatic machines and plate-loaded machines have all proven to be both safe and effective. The NSCA’s position stand on resistance training in older adults recommends an individualized and periodized approach to resistance training, eventually working towards 2 to 3 sets of 1 to 2 multi-joint exercises per muscle group at 70-85% one rep maximum (1RM) two to three days per week.
Weight Training for Older Cyclists and Runners: What to Do?
- Focus on free weights, bands, suspension straps. Anything that is multi-joint and multi-purpose. For example, doing a pallof press with bands works your chest and shoulder muscles as well as your core.
- Start light and easy. Your body needs time to adjust to the new demands you’re placing on it! For the first three or so weeks, you shouldn’t feel exhausted after a strength workout, not even “really tired.” You should be aware you used your muscles in a new way, but you should feel no worse than taking a good walk.
Questions About Weight Training for Older Cyclists and Runners???
We can create bodyweight workouts, gym workouts, as well as cardio and yoga routines. Most of my clients at the WAC are older adults, and there’s nothing quite like seeing people at the start of their journey, then starting to really move and get stronger.