Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Learning to Lift As an Older Man

Today I resumed my pull up challenge at the Y. The goal, you will recall, is to perform 5 sets of 5 pull ups daily for 30 days, taking one day off a week. 

I'm grateful for the progress I seem to be making. 

Even my triathlon swim times seem to be improving now that I'm working on my upper back and arm strength. The studies I've read about aging and lifting all seem to indicate the following for 60+ lifters:

  • We have a vastly lower response to weight training than lifters who are under 60.
  • Heavy sessions need to be less frequent.
  • Lighter sessions should comprise MOST of our work.
  • Injury avoidance is HUGE in our training.
  • If you started lifting in your 60+ age group, you will see life-altering changes, but you will also begin to peak soon.
  • If you started during an earlier age group, you will get smaller and weaker through this range. 

So many of us can't accept the fact that we have to go lighter as we grow older. Plus, injuries when you grow older can be devastating. If you are relatively active, you are going to face the possibility of injury and you have to learn to work with it. Warm ups, warm downs, stretching, good nutrition, and adequate sleep are NOT optional. I'm not gonna lie. It's hard work, but it's also so enjoyable. Slow and steady is the name of the game, but making gains and seeing benefits is so encouraging. I just keep telling myself that I intend to keep at this for a long time so there's no rush to load on massive weights. 

I have to say I am so grateful at how much more endurance the Lord has allowed me to attain. I am learning to be accepting of my limits, and I try to take what my body gives me and maybe just a tiny bit more. Persistence pays off. I'm watching my recovery and my joints really carefully but I'm not averse to risk. "Youth rewards the bold, age rewards the patient" are very wise words! 

God willing, I'd like to age in place, meaning living at home. I love what I do and believe that I can continue to get better. I'm a little late to the party, but I can't thank God enough for letting me start when I did.