Weight training after age 50

Everyone knows exercise is important to maintain good health and most know that it is one of the keys to longevity. But with all of the options, how do you know what type of exercise is best? 

Certainly, different exercise trends have come and gone as our culture modernized, affording people less physical labor and more free time. The 1940s was characterized by jumping jacks and stretches. Then, in an apparent attempt to make exercise fun, the 1950s gave us the hula hoop.

The vibrating belt of the '60s (remember that one?) was a disappointing gimmick, but opened the door in the '70s through today to group exercise fads and gym memberships starting with Jazzercize, aerobics, step-aerobics onward to Tae Bo, Spinning, Cross-Fit and today’s popular HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts. Many of these exercises are great because they will combine strength training with cardio.

As we age, however, lifting weights is better than cardio for preserving lean muscle mass. This is important because we know that 29% of people over age 60 and 46% of people over 80 cannot lift 10 pounds! Imagine how limiting this is. 

A combination of cardio AND weight training is optimal to help us keep off unwanted weight and improve our strength, endurance, longevity and maintain our quality of life.  For many older adults, however, weight training sounds foreign at best, and unachievable at worst.

That is why Westlake Community Services, in partnership with the Westlake Recreation Department, offers a unique strength and cardio facility for those who are 50+. 

Indeed, membership is exclusive to just those 50 and over. No need for gym intimidation, as this modestly sized room is always staffed by fitness personnel who provide ongoing equipment orientation and assistance.

The equipment itself is also special. The Keiser brand strength equipment for every major muscle group uses pneumatic resistance technology. This enables a reduced shock load to the connective tissues and joints, while effectively engaging your muscles during the entire range of motion.

It is so easy to use. There is no more getting on/off the equipment to pull a pin and guess at your weight selection. Instead, choosing and adjusting your resistance happens at the touch of your thumbs, ensuring a safe and effective work-out every time. 

In addition to the weight machines, age-friendly cardio equipment (including 2 nu-step machines) is also part of the line-up. Due to a sponsorship from Concord Reserve, a Life Enrichment Community, we are able to provide this more individualistic, age friendly approach to exercise at a reasonable cost: Westlake residents can join for $85 annually, non-residents at $110. 

If you are already a member of Westlake Recreation it is a $60 upcharge to your membership. Best of all, for those who have Silver Sneakers or Renew Active, it is free once you've registered. 

The hours are limited, Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. If you are 50+, come tour our facility and see if this is something you would want to try. Westlake Community Services is located at 28975 Hilliard Blvd.

On Thursday, Feb. 15, at 9:45 a.m. we are celebrating a ribbon-cutting. Light, healthy refreshments will be on hand, followed by a health & fitness screening day sponsored by University Hospitals St. John Medical Center. 

Please call 440-899-3544 to schedule your appointment time for the health screenings. Make this the year you focus on getting the best exercise just for you. For more exercise and wellness opportunities check out our Pathways newsletter at www.cityofwestlake.org/community-services.

Lydia Gadd

I am the Director of the Community Services Department for the City of Westlake. I am also a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor.

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Volume 16, Issue 2, Posted 10:02 AM, 02.06.2024