Sadly for every decade starting in your mid 30’s, you lose a percentage of muscle, which affects your metabolism, balance, injury prevention and posture.
Barre uses small, targeted movements to improve strength, muscle tone, and flexibility with weights. It is crucial to incorporate lifting weights into your workout regime. In fact when it comes to exercise as you age strength training trumps cardio because preserving muscle is more important than losing fat.
The true benefit from light lifting comes from working until muscle fatigue. This makes it more about the effort level rather than the load you are lifting.
So how often should you train with weights? Ideally twice a week, however as you get stronger and fitter, you can increase your sessions to more than twice a week.
But why train with light weights?
You'll lose weight and burn more calories
While cardio can help you get rid of belly fat, lifting weights helps you build more muscle, which can also help you burn more calories. That's because muscles are metabolically active, meaning they burn calories even when you're not exercising.
You'll protect your bones
As you age, your bones become more brittle and weaker, especially if you're pre or post-menopausal, which is due to lower oestrogen levels—the hormone responsible for maintaining bone mass. But lifting weights can help you build bone mineral density, creating pressure on your joints through weight-bearing exercises can actually help you build stronger, healthier bones.
You'll manage stress and boost your mood
Had a hard day at work and need to release some tension? Time to pick up those weights. Just like any form of exercise, strength training can enhance your mood by releasing feel-good hormones called endorphins.
Recent research also suggests that exercise, including weight training, may help protect against Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Any type of exercise is a mood booster, but weight training makes you feel stronger and it builds the back and neck muscles that are most directly associated with stress.
You'll improve your posture
If you have a desk job, chances are you're dealing with a case of shoulders and a hunched back, which place additional pressure on your low back. This can lead to poor posture and limited range of motion in the shoulders, which are the most flexible joint in the body.
But lifting weights can help reverse this by opening up the chest, strengthening the back muscles, and improving freedom of movement. It also strengthens your core, which keeps the back in alignment and upright.
You'll reduce back pain
There's no one reason for back pain, but muscular imbalances, like weak knees and an unstable core, can contribute, among other things. Most people think aches and pain are due to strains, but sometimes, it's a result of bad biomechanics. Your muscles work in a kinetic chain, so if there's a weak link, it can often manifest into a bigger problem in different areas of the body. But by building total-body strength, you can bypass most injuries.
For example, if you have weak hip flexors, it also means you have weak glutes—their opposing muscles. And, typically they don't weaken evenly, so this can also throw your pelvis out of whack, which could affect your gait. As weak and tight muscles tug and pull, they can cause imbalances and pain, which is your body telling you that something is wrong.
You'll improve memory and brain health
Research has shown that physical activity can help prevent or delay cognitive decline in people over 50, regardless of their current neurological state.
When you're moving, your body pumps oxygen-rich blood to your brain, boosting neuroplasticity—your brain's ability to create new neural connections and adjust to changes in environment. By increasing neuroplasticity, you can better handle stressful situations that come with life and stay sharp.
You'll be better in tune with your body
There's nothing like lifting a pair of weights to help you tune into your senses when you work out. Whether you're doing an overhead press, a plank row, or a goblet squat, lifting weights creates greater awareness around using your breath to help you get the most out of each rep.
Plus, doing complex moves can test your listening and cognitive skills—it takes some brain power to process a trainer's cues and execute a move properly!
So let’s get lifting …