Weights and the gym can add decades of quality of life, explains this physiologist. So you can start

This is the message from Dr. Marcas Bamman, a physiologist with decades of research on aging who preaches the benefits of weight resistance training for older adults. We are talking about people over 60 years old, women and men. And about going to the gym and training with weights: Don’t be discouraged, says Bamman.

“Resistance training is, in many ways, the true fountain of youth,” Bamman said in an interview with . “I like to say that the fountain of youth is the fountain of water in the gym.”

Of course, there are biological limits. But Bamman noted that most of the age-related decline in strength, flexibility and endurance is due to behavior: asking too little of the body, not too much.

“When I tell someone that in four or six months their strength, muscle mass, and general muscle function are going to reach the levels of people 30 or 35 years younger, that’s where it counts,” he said.

Although you may already know that you are too sedentary and have birthdays piling up, and you may suspect that resistance training would be beneficial, you may feel intimidated. Don’t be intimidated.

What you need to do to get started

Consult with medical professionals to make sure there are no health problems getting in the way.

Next, find a gym. The larger ones offer a social component with things to do on a day off from weight training. And Bamman suggests finding a coach.

“It’s actually quite safe, but it requires proper progression,” Bamman said. “You have to have a good instructor who can teach you the movements correctly.”

Bamman, a research scientist at the Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition, said finding a fully qualified trainer can be difficult.

“We need more rigorous certification of coaches,” he mentioned. “The problem is, tonight you can go online, pay $50, and get certified as a trainer.”

One hour is enough

Bamman suggests resistance training twice a week. Three times is even better, and recommended in half days without weight training. For example, he trains Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and leaves Tuesday and Thursday as rest days.

It suggests 10 different movements, although eight is enough. Do 10 repetitions of each movement. Do it three times, which is described as three sets. Then move on to the next move.

By the time you get to the 10th rep, you should feel like you can’t do many more. If you could do 10 more reps, you might want to increase the resistance.

“Resistance training is, in many ways, the true fountain of youth.”

Brands Bamman aging physiologist

Bamman noted that machines are best for beginners, but free weights — barbells or dumbbells — can be more effective as you gain confidence.

Before lifting weights, start with a 5-10 minute warm-up—on the treadmill, stationary bike, or elliptical—to get your blood flowing. You can add a few minutes to stretch and work your abs.

Then come the weights.

“Sometimes you see people who sit on the machine, do a series and then play with their cell phone for three or four minutes. “We like to keep them moving.”

Women can benefit even more than men

Women can benefit from resistance training even more than men because it is a way to combat osteoporosis, the loss of bone density.

“Women are on a disadvantaged trajectory in terms of bone loss, especially in susceptible areas such as the hips and lower back,” said Bamman, who completed her doctorate at the University of Florida College of Medicine.

“But the benefits of strength training for both sexes are really important. There are no sex differences in responsiveness. In the gain of muscle mass and strength in untrained people, men and women register the same.

Yasuko Kuroi is 72 years old and started resistance training about two decades ago.

“I saw the men in the gym and thought I could do it too,” he explained at a municipal recreation center in Tokyo.

The body requires work

Simply put: if you don’t use it, you lose it.

Bamman warned against pampering and even criticizes health professionals “who pamper the elderly.” Of course, common sense is needed.

“Our human body is a demand-based system,” he explained. “If you chronically place a low demand on the body, we have adaptations to the low demand. That’s why we lose muscle mass, that’s why we get weak. “We don’t demand much.”

“But if you put a lot of demands on the system—like with resistance training—the body now has to adapt to these higher demands. The body says: ‘To adapt to these new demands I have to strengthen my bones. I have to increase the size of my muscles.”

Bamman gave the example of space flight or prolonged bed rest, in which people lose strength quickly.

“Bed rest or space flights are basically accelerated aging,” he said. “As we age, all of our systems are able to respond and adapt. “They just need the encouragement.” The specialist assured that he has observed positive effects in people in their 70s and 80s, and even in some in their 90s.

Bamman is 57 years old and joked that he is “getting closer in age to the people I study.” He also emphasized that There are no short cuts.

“These programs that come out for older adults—seated exercises and things like that. “Those do not demand enough from the body,” he made clear.