Powerlifting will keep you youthful and strong!
Ok, so we’re going to be quite honest… you cannot prevent the process of aging and it happens to all of us, every day. Many people dread the thought and it becomes a burden for many.
That doesn’t mean you have to age like the rest of the population, who kind of let the process happen to them rather than being more in control. That’s right! You have a lot of control over how you age. Now, lifestyle factors, habits, and even genetics can play a big part in aging and decelerating the process can be done by making smart decisions.
Yes, some are more obvious than others but there’s one you may have never thought of and that is… Powerlifting! Yes, powerlifting is a smart decision because it will allow you to experience the fountain of youth even as you age because the benefits are outstanding.
Let’s delve further into how powerlifting can slow aging by first discussing the process of aging…
What Happens When We Age?
So many things happen when we age. In fact, it affects everything in the body including bones, joints, memory, hormones, muscles, cardiovascular system, digestion, skin etc. (1)
Basically, the entire body and functions are affected by aging.
How does aging affect the body?
Heart – As far as the cardiovascular system is concerned, the blood vessels and arteries start to stiffen and it becomes increasingly hard for blood to make its way through. So this causes the heart to have to work harder, which is not good because blood pressure issues and heart complications become more of a risk. (1)
Muscles, bones, and joints – It’s no secret that testosterone levels start to diminish and muscles start to atrophy. Bones start to lose density; which makes someone more susceptible to fractures and Osteoporosis (Bone disease). Bones are a live tissue and when we age, the regeneration of new tissue cannot keep up with tissue loss. (2)
Loss of joint mobility occurs in the elderly because the cartilage and synovial fluid which protects bones from rubbing together have begun to deteriorate.
Metabolism – The slowing of the metabolism is a natural process which occurs as we age, and it causes weight gain. The Basal Metabolic Rate decreases and therefore the body does not burn through calories as quickly anymore.
It has actually been shown that muscle loss due to aging is directly related to the decrease in BMR. Why? Well, muscle is a fat burning machine! In fact, 10 pounds of muscle burns 50 calories in a day, whereas 10 pounds of fat burns just 20. (3)(4)
This is why it’s important to do more cardio and strength training because aging can often be a sedentary lifestyle in contrast to the earlier years of someone’s life. (5)
Memory – This is a pretty normal result of aging. The good thing is memory loss and forgetfulness does not always mean a serious problem (It’s pretty typical in fact). But weight training has been proven to improve memory in people with cognitive decline cases which can lead to dementia. (6)
Memory and cognitive functioning are just as important as physical health.
Digestive System – Constipation, GERDS, medications, inactivity, lack of fluid, diverticulosis… all of these can affect how the digestive system functions and age is a big factor. This is why it’s important to address these issues by seeing a Doctor first and foremost but being active (Weight training and cardio) and making some serious lifestyle changes can make a big difference.
Hormones – Testosterone levels decline as you age but are synthetic (Hormone replacement therapy) compounds the answer? It seems that GH administration is not necessarily an effective solution for the aging man. However, proper diet and a good exercise program is a great option always and can help tremendously. (7)(8)
Now, obviously, everyone’s situation is different but implementing a good strength training routine is a preferred action to take rather than relying on prescriptions.
Alright, now that we know how aging affects the physical body, we can talk about the effectiveness of powerlifting on the aging process.
What is Powerlifting?
Powerlifting involves utilizing compound movements like squat, bench press and deadlift to maximize muscular strength (It’s also great for building lean muscle mass). The great thing about compound movements is they work for more than one muscle group at once, improve metabolic conditioning and they allow the lifter to lift a maximal amount of weight (Necessary for maximum strength and muscle growth).
Now, the typical rep range for powerlifting is about 1-6 reps which are perfect for getting as strong as possible. So the level of exertion required to perform the lift will generally be pretty challenging (Compared to a hypertrophy-focused routine).
Powerlifting is a sport and it’s also a weightlifting activity for a large number of your average gym-goer population.
Why Do Older People Need to Strength Train?
Let’s briefly discuss the aging population. By 2030, all baby boomers will be 65 and older. Now, by 2035, the population of 65+ will exceed the number of children in the U.S. for the first time in history. (9)
So you can see just how important fitness is for the aging population (It’s crucial).
As a society, we’ve accepted that the older population of people is not as active as the younger generation. However, this is detrimental thinking. We should be prioritizing the encouragement of activity in the elderly because the rates of illness are becoming quite alarming.
It’s a fact that physical activity prevents chronic disease and the best part about it is it’s free. (10)
So How Does Powerlifting Slow the Aging process?
Well, we all know how important it is to have a healthy heart, strong bones and good mental health. Powerlifting is perfect for all three since it releases endorphins, elevates heart rate and improves bone density.
Study on body composition effectiveness and benefits
A study has shown 10 weeks of powerlifting increases Resting Metabolic Rate by 7%, lean weight by 1.4kg and reduce fat by 1.8kg. Since it increases the Resting Metabolic rate, this means less fat gains from inactivity or excessive food consumption (Still no excuse to overeat).
Besides the aesthetic benefits, powerlifting also offers movement control, improved self-esteem, physical performance, functional independence, and even cognitive abilities. The great thing is powerlifting can prevent lower back pain and muscular imbalances which are a big benefit. (11)
Self-esteem and sports performance benefits
We all want to have self-esteem because feeling good about ourselves is important for our mental health. Well, powerlifting is amazing for increasing confidence in an individual because the bodily changes play a big factor. Looking at yourself in the mirror and seeing muscle gains and fat loss does a lot for the way you feel about yourself.
If you play sports, powerlifting will increase your strength and coordination necessary to perform at a competitive level. Every athlete should and usually does utilize weight lifting of some sort to improve physical performance. Speed, power, stabilization, explosiveness, and balance are some of the performance benefits you’ll experience with a good powerlifting routine.
A lot of the elderly population use walkers and canes to get around but keeping up with a training program can promote functional independence and a lack of bent over posture we see a lot in older people.
What more could an aging individual ask for? It seems powerlifting offers everything but it sure does offer a lot regarding the physical and mental benefits.
Powerlifting for Longevity
Since we need to be able to walk, move around, and just perform day-to-day tasks, we need to have the physical strength and mobility to do so. Well, powerlifting allows for continuing mobility through the joints as we age, and strong bones mean a decreased risk for injury.
So keeping your physical structure strong and mobile through powerlifting is a must.
Where to Start?
There are groups and organizations who teach the process of powerlifting and/or the internet can be your best friend if you know what you’re doing and do your homework. Preferably though, you’ll have some coaching from a professional to assure optimal safety. This is the most important thing if you want longevity and long-lasting benefits.
Never start with heavy weights and also be willing to educate yourself in the process. It’s crucial to warm up properly, use proper form and progress in your lifts slowly.
Consistency is key!
Who Should Try Powerlifting?
Anyone who is physically healthy can begin a powerlifting program as long as form and technique are never compromised for the amount of weight being lifted.
Powerlifting Effectively Slows the Aging Process
OK, so we hope you’re convinced of just how powerful and effective powerlifting is. Incorporating a regular routine into your lifestyle will go a long way in keeping you as youthful as possible throughout the process of aging.
Of course, the process of aging is inevitable (Darn you Peter Pan) but it doesn’t have to be a bad thing!
In fact, it can be as enjoyable as you make it but remember the decisions and habits we form makes all the difference in our ability to live a long, happy, and healthy life. That is why you should definitely consider a powerlifting program to keep aging away for as long as possible!