As we age, our muscle mass declines, mostly due to decrease in activity. Lifestyle, stress and poor diet cause a drop in testosterone levels and muscle mass. You don't need to lift heavy weights if you just want to stay fit. But if you have a physical job or hobby or are engaged in sports you should do weight training. Try body weight exercises like Yoga and Pilates that are easier on joints and tendons.
What is the real purpose of strength, anyway?
Well, at the most fundamental level, it enables us to move our bodies over, under and around any pathway we find ourselves travelling on or to surmount any obstacle that impedes our travel. Second, strength enables us to physically manipulate and transport our tools, equipment and all resources we need for both ourselves and our ‘important people’ to live and thrive.
And if these demands of life are satisfied, we are free to develop the strength necessary for sports, athletics and recreation, all of which enhance our lives.
Remember, our bodies are essentially anti-gravity machines designed for motion. The greater the strength in our body, the better we defy gravity and the less it impedes us. Climbing the stairs or carrying bags of groceries become easier just by virtue of being stronger.
Many of us have heard that we lose muscle-tone as we age. There may be a slight decline, but not so much because of the aging, but because we quit the movement.
Factors Responsible For Strength Decline
Strength decline is mostly from misuse. Lifestyle changes, stress and poor diet combined with a more sedentary lifestyle can drop testosterone levels and decrease our muscle mass. Pain also limits us but if we can train intelligently, (what is best for your body at the time) we can minimize this decline and even reverse it.
This brings up the question as to whether you actually need to lift heavy weights. Well, the answer depends on several things: your actual needs; your desire and motivation; and your actual physical ability to handle heavy loads.
Low-Down On Lifting Heavy Weights
If your ‘need’ is just to be fit for daily life in the city, you probably don’t need to lift heavy weights. If you have a physical job or hobby or are engaged in sports you may need a heavier program.
If heavy lifting is a motivation and challenge to you, then there is value in pursuing it. Because engaging in a positive challenge gives life that much more meaning.
However, the final arbiter is whether your joints and muscle attachments actually thrive under the load; if you are constantly injured you must rethink your goals and program or risk accumulated injuries to point you can barely lift at all.
Exercises That You Can Try
- Consider exercises that use your body weight for resistance. This is easier on the joints and tendons.
- These exercises include Yoga, Pilates, exercise bands or even dance.
- Lastly, for the ladies, be rest assured that lifting weights is not going to give you a massive bulky she-hulk stature!
Women And Weight-lifting
Most women don’t possess enough natural testosterone to build that much size nor do they eat the large amount of protein necessary to gain such mass. As a matter of fact, most of the toned and lean women we see actually lift weights in order to produce their shapely curves.