Lift Weights Until You Keel Over And Die

Jack Lalanne will never die.

Jack Lalanne will never die.

Just a quick blurb about an older study I found this week whilst writing a post over at the work blog:

We conclude that high-resistance weight training leads to significant gains in muscle strength, size, and functional mobility among frail residents of nursing homes up to 96 years of age.

96 years old. That’s 70(!) years away for me and I’m sure it will come in a blink. While I could take the time to note training temperance and gradual improvements because you really have a lot of time to do this, I’d like to focus on the fact that one can lift weights until the day you collapse. You really can.

  1. There people were at least 90 years old when starting the study; they could barely walk but they could lift weights.
  2. Controlled lifting through a full range of motion will preserve your joint strength, integrity, and keep your maximum range of motion. It really is a use it or lose it situation with mobility.
  3. Art De Vany talks about physiological headroom (or as he said in his interview with Charles Staley, the “One Horse Shay”). The largest area under the curve for quality of life. I’d like to still be doing chinups at 90+, which means you have to be fairly consistent with your lifestyle over the long term. Just as 20lbs of muscle doesn’t magically crawl up into bed with you and fix itself to your body, strength, ROM, and health doesn’t magically fall off of your body (save for pathologies/muscle wasting diseases).

So what’s the take home message? You’re going to be doing this for a long time. If you do it right, you’ll be nearly as active at 95 as you are at 35. Stay safe, try new things, and have fun.

Define Your Terms

“You want to start working out. Great. Why? Health and fitness? Good. What’s that? Low body fat and a high vertical jump? Great. Have you always thought these associate with health and fitness? No? So why now?”

It’s quite the dilemma, using precise language for an imprecise and moving target. However, I think it is (sometimes) this ambiguity that leads to the falling off of a path toward health and fitness. Continue reading