top of page
  • Writer's pictureSimon Watts

It’s never too late to start lifting weights

Strength training in later life could be the key to healthy ageing. The benefits of staying active as we age have long been known. But advice has generally leaned towards cardiovascular activities which maintain heart and lung health, such as walking, running or swimming. There’s now an increasing body of academic evidence which suggests that activities which improve strength, balance and flexibility should also be included to help us age healthily and live independently.

Maintaining independence as we age requires the ability to perform the activities of daily life. Bathing and showering, dressing, getting in and out of a chair, walking and carrying shopping bags – all these tasks require sufficient strength, balance and flexibility. Doing activities which improve these elements on at least two days a week now forms part of the NHS guidelines for adults aged 65 and over. But starting resistance training in your 40s and 50s can bring a whole host of benefits now.

Discover the benefits of strength training

Weight training in later life can:

· Increase strength, bone density and muscle mass

· Improve balance and coordination

· Reduce frailty and risk of falls

· Improve your overall quality of life – letting you continue to do the things you love for longer.

There’s also research which suggests strength training can:

· Boost your brain power

· Improve your immune system

· Reverse signs of cellular ageing.

Starting resistance training can seem daunting, but with the right guidance it can be accessible and straightforward. You don’t need to rush to the gym or invest in expensive equipment – exercises using bodyweight, resistance bands and even tins of beans or bottles of water can all be effective tools for strength training.

Photo credit: Kelly Sikkema

Skiing in your late 70s? Yes you can...

I recently worked with a client in their late 70s who was preparing for a skiing trip with his family. He wanted to focus on strengthening his legs and core, as well as improving his mobility and flexibility. Using a combination of bodyweight and light ‘dumbbells’ (we used bottles of cider instead of cans of baked beans, but it worked for him!), he gained strength and stamina in his legs, strengthened his core and greatly improved his spinal mobility. All of which set him up for an enjoyable day on the slopes with his grandchildren, making unforgettable memories.

Photo Credit: Banff Sunshine Village

Age really is just a number

When it comes to resistance training, age needn’t be an issue and it’s never too late to start. It will help you continue to live an independent and active life and carry on doing all the things you love.

Before starting a new exercise programme it’s always advisable to speak to your GP first if you have not exercised for some time, or if you have medical conditions or concerns.

Learn more

Any questions?

Contact me or comment below if you have any questions about strength training in later life and how I can help.

About the author

Simon Watts is a qualified personal trainer, cancer exercise specialist and reformer pilates instructor. He founded Yes You Can Fitness to help build peoples’ confidence to exercise by focusing on what each client can do, not what they can’t.

8 views0 comments


bottom of page