By Gary Geyer and Deon Melchior
With the recent passing of Jack Lalanne, once again the controversy of men over 50 weightlifting has come to the forefront. Obviously, with Jack living to the age of 96, it doesn’t appear to have done him any harm. On the contrary, it may have contributed to his longevity.
"Living is a pain in the butt," Jack was quoted as saying. "Dying is easy. It’s like an athletic event. You’ve got to train for it. You’ve got to eat right. You’ve got to exercise. Your health account, your bank account, they’re the same thing. The more you put in, the more you can take out. Exercise is king and nutrition is queen: together, you have a kingdom."
You are never too old to start
Recent studies have proven that you are never too old to start weight training and benefit from the wealth of physical benefits of weightlifting. In fact if you have never done any weightlifting or strength training and are over 50, now is the best time to start.
Men lose muscle mass as they age
For each decade of adult life if we do not exercise we lose 5 to 7 pounds of muscle, most guys as they age put on at least that much or more in fat as metabolism slows. Weightlifting and strength training has been shown to not only slow this process, but can replace much of lost muscle tissue.
As you build muscle tissue, metabolism increases, and many benefits result.
Many of the conditions that come with aging: osteoporosis, arthritis, high blood pressure, heart diseases can actually be prevented and in many cases even reversed, with an appropriate weightlifting regimen.
Knees and Hips: The most common surgery in men over 50.
Total joint replacement surgery such as the knee and hip, is probably the most common surgery in men over 50. A proper regimen of strength training and weight lifting has been proven in study after
study to reduce the need for such surgery, as increased muscle strength also helps preserve and in many cases stop the deterioration of weight bearing joints.
Sprained or broken wrists and ankles due to falls.
Also one of the most common injuries among men over 50 is sprained or broken wrists and ankles due to falls. Weightlifting has been shown to prevent these injuries in more then one way. Weightlifting strengthens bones, making them less fragile, and less susceptible to fracture in the event of fall.
Weightlifting and strength training : The best preventive and anti-aging medicine
It makes a fall far less likely. Members of the medical and the fitness community now generally agree that probably the best preventative and anti-aging medicine there is.
Of course especially for men over 50 who may be working out with weights for the first time, it is highly recommended that you consult with your physician before starting any kind of exercise routine.
Then once you are good to go you can join a gym or you can get a good set of barbells and begin resistance training and weightlifting in your own home. If you have never lifted before and since being over 50 you may be at greater risk of certain injuries - joining a gym and working with a personal trainer to learn proper technique and weightlifting safety is definitely a good idea.
A personal trainer can also help…
to tailor a weight lifting routine to your specific goals and personal needs. Also while many professional weightlifters disdain weight machines, for older beginners they are great because they are easier to use, insure proper form and technique, and can be used by just about anyone with little or no instruction or prior weightlifting experience.
Some of Jack Lalanne’s feats as reported on his website
1954 (age 40): swam the entire length (8,981 ft/1.7 mi) of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco under water with 140 pounds of air tanks and other equipment strapped to his body; a world record.
1955 (age 41): swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco while handcuffed. When interviewed afterwards he was quoted as saying that the worst thing about the ordeal was being handcuffed, which significantly reduced his chance to do a jumping jack.
1956 (age 42): set what was claimed as a world record of 1,033 push-ups in 23 minutes on You Asked For It, a television program.
1957 (age 43): swam the Golden Gate channel while towing a 2,500- pound cabin cruiser. The swift ocean currents turned this one-mile swim into a swimming distance of 6.5 miles.
1958 (age 44): maneuvered a paddleboard nonstop from Farallon Islands to the San Francisco shore. The 30-mile trip took 9.5 hours.
1959 (age 45): did 1,000 star jumps and 1,000 chin-ups in 1 hour, 22 minutes, to promote The Jack Lalanne Show going nationwide. LaLanne said this was the most difficult of his stunts, but only because the skin on his hands started ripping off during the chin-ups. He felt he couldn’t stop because it would be seen as a public failure.
1974 (age 60): For the second time, he swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman’s Wharf. Again, he was handcuffed, but this time he was also shackled and towed a 1,000-pound boat.
1975 (age 61): Repeating his performance of 21 years earlier, he again swam the entire length of the Golden Gate Bridge, underwater and handcuffed, but this time he was shackled and towed a 1,000- pound boat.
1976 (age 62): To commemorate the "Spirit of ’76", United States Bicentennial he swam one mile in Long Beach Harbor. He was handcuffed and shackled, and he towed 13 boats (representing the 13 original colonies) containing 76 people.
1979 (age 65): towed 65 boats in Lake Ashinoko near Tokyo He was handcuffed and shackled, and the boats were filled with 6,500 pounds of Louisiana Pulp wood pulp.
1980 (age 66): towed 10 boats in North Miami Florida. The boats carried 77 people, and he towed them for over one mile in less than one hour.
1984 (age 70): handcuffed, shackled, and fighting strong winds and currents, towed 70 rowboats, one with several guests, from the Queen’s Way Bridge in the Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary, 1 mile.
Gary Geyer is Chief Editor of "Let Life In."
Deon Melchior is the Editor and Publisher of "Article Click."