In the first 25 or so years that I have worked out in and worked in fitness gyms, I noticed very few older adults in these facilities. In the past 20 or so years, while working almost only with seniors I have found one of the most common reasons that seniors don’t go to the gym. There is a huge intimidation factor! They see these young, buff bodies, people grunting and groaning as they strain to lift huge weights and build up big, bulging muscles. Many women, and some men, worry about lifting weights and building up those big muscles.
Firstly, you need testosterone to build big muscles. Most women don’t have very much of the male hormone so don’t need to worry about that. There are four main methods in lifting weights which all have different results: power lifting, body building, strength training and endurance. When first coming to a gym a lot of people just watch others to try to learn what to do. Most gyms offer a one-time orientation, show you around some of the equipment then turn you loose so that’s what you do to survive! Most of the equipment in a gym is very simple to use but when you’ve never seen machines like that it is very intimidating! People want to save money by figuring all of this out by themselves, but you are paying for a membership at the gym, wandering around doing things wrong and wasting time, getting little or no benefit.
As we grow older it is very important to our health to maintain or even increase our strength. Stronger muscles mean that you can do more things, our balance is better, our joints function properly, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol are all controlled more. Everything about proper, moderate strength training is a benefit to us as we age and there really is no downside.
At Snap Fitness in the Landing Plaza we run several circuit classes which are totally focused on strength training for people over 55 years old. Younger people would benefit from this program as well, but we are mostly concerned with seniors and all of their health issues.
For more information on this great program, call me at 250-260-1001 or drop by Snap Fitness between 8:30 and 10 any weekday morning.
Don MacLeod is a certified personal trainer out of Vernon