January 17, 2018 | John Paul Catanzaro
Last week I had an interesting observation when training my eldest client, who’s about to turn 90 years old in March. Her identical twin sister was visiting from out of town and decided to join us. The difference in strength, mobility, function, and appearance between the two sisters was very evident.
My client was doing whole-body dynamic stretching, high-rep sets of full squats followed by mini circuits of lateral raises, overhead presses, and curls non-stop with 8lb dumbbells, going up and down from the floor with no problem.
Her sister on the other hand had to stay standing the whole time. She could barely bend her knees or raise her arms overhead. She used 1lb ankle weights for resistance. She was quite frail, did not move well, and quite frankly, looked significantly older than her sister.
It wasn’t always that way though. When I first met them both 20 years ago, the sister was the “fitter” one. She played tennis on a regular basis, walked her dog daily, and was generally in good shape. She moved well, but she didn’t train with weights.
Over the years, as my client got stronger and her mobility improved, her sister went the other way. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, walking is great to relieve stress, facilitate recovery between workouts, and help manage blood sugar levels after a meal, but as a form of exercise, it’s not enough. You’ll get more from weights than aerobics, especially as you get older!
Bottom Line: The aging process can be cruel if you don’t do anything about it. There’s no better way to experience healthy, functional aging than with weight training.