We’ve all heard about the wonders of weightlifting when it comes to increasing our metabolism and reducing our body fat percentage. Beyond that however, weightlifting still offers a plethora of other health benefits. Exercise physiologist Elizabeth Quinn states that weightlifting has the ability to “substantially slow, and even reverse, the declines in muscle mass, bone density and strength that were once considered the “inevitable consequences of aging.” Weightlifting can also do much to improve our joints and mobility especially as we grow older, even for those who have diseases related to their joints. If you are approaching your senior years, then weightlifting can have a positive impact on joint health.
As a woman in her 50s, Lillian Ann Slugocki enjoys weight training. She has a family history of arthritis and she uses weightlifting to keep her joints, bones and muscles happy. She found that contrary to popular belief, strength training done correctly won’t aggravate the joint pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis. This is because proper strength training doesn’t apply any direct stress to the joints. In fact, it does the opposite. Not exercising enough can actually make joints feel even more painful and stiff. Thus, for anyone who does weightlifting—but for people with arthritis most especially—strength training has the ability to keep the muscles, tendons and ligaments around the joints strong while also facilitating joint lubrication. Having lubricated joints means having increased mobility. It also means you’re less prone to joint-related injuries or diseases. Moreover, strength training helps control joint swelling and pain for those with arthritis or similar tendencies.
Additionally, while people with arthritis use weightlifting to reduce their symptoms, many others use weightlifting to avoid future joint-related diseases. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to start weightlifting in your 20s to reap the benefits. Weightlifting is a sport that can benefit your health no matter when you start. In his article ‘70 Ways to Be Your Best at 70’, Olympia Gym & Personal Training Center owner Pete Cicale wrote that “it is never too soon or too late to make positive changes to your lifestyle in order to make you stronger in the future.” Indeed, it’s never too late to start weightlifting no matter your age. Lauren Bruzzone is a 72-year-old CrossFit enthusiast who’s been taking the internet by storm. She started training at 60-years-old and has been doing it ever since. Bruzzone told Women’s Health Mag that she decided to try it out but told herself she’d quit if she didn’t like it. Many years later the 72-year-old is still flipping tires and deadlifting 160 lbs. Her joint mobility is good too, as there are videos of her on Instagram doing box jumps and dips. This goes to show how weightlifting has strengthened her joints, allowing her to accomplish other agile feats you wouldn’t expect from someone her age. Through her fitness, she wants to prove that ability and age is nothing compared to your will to succeed.
Both Lauren Bruzzone and Lillian Ann Slugocki are living testaments that it’s never too old to start weightlifting and you don’t have to be extremely young in order to reap its benefits either. Start weightlifting no matter your age, and you can do wonders for your joints and mobility.
Written by Christine McGinley