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Pumping Iron May Be the Key to Fitness Over 60

We all understand that fitness over 60 is important. The challenge is knowing where to start and having the discipline to stick with it once we do.

Personally, I always love it when I see people in their 70s and 80s lifting weights at the gym. There is something about their toughness and dedication that is so inspiring.

At the same time, I’ve always dismissed weight training as something for other people. It’s so much easier to jump on the elliptical machine and listen to a good audiobook.

Well, as a new research study from Tufts University School of Medicine implies, easier isn’t always better. In fact, they argue that pumping iron may be one of the keys to fitness after 50.

Why is Weight Lifting So Important for Fitness Over 60?

As reported in the Wall Street Journal, a healthy 60-year-old could potentially gain 2-3 pounds of muscle by weightlifting over a 6-12 month period. That’s not as much as we would have gained in our younger years, but, it’s still significant.

The results or weight lifting are not just cosmetic. According to the CDC, strength training has also been shown to help with maintaining a healthy weight, strengthening bones, maintaining a healthy heart, getting better sleep and much more.

Should You Drop Everything and Start Weight Training?

So, should you hang up your running shoes and start weight lifting exclusively? Probably not. As the Wall Street Journal article reminded us, strength training and cardio are complementary activities. If, like me, you love walking and listening to audiobooks, playing tennis, or hiking with your new friends, by all means, keep moving.

It’s also clear that almost everyone our age could benefit from adding at least a session or two of weight training into our schedule every week.

What About the Risk of Getting Injured?

Both the Wall Street Journal article and the CDC make a point of calling out the fact that weight training is safe for most older adults. Of course, you will want to learn how to use the equipment correctly, and check with your doctor before getting started, but this is true of any sport or physical activity.

Have you tried weight training after 60? What was your experience? What do you think are the keys to fitness after 60? Please join the conversation.

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The Author

Margaret Manning is the founder of Sixty and Me. She is an entrepreneur, author and speaker. Margaret is passionate about building dynamic and engaged communities that improve lives and change perceptions. Margaret can be contacted at

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