Last month, I shared my No. 1 recommendation of the year with hundreds of folks in Boston...
I was at the annual Stansberry Conference and Alliance Meeting. My fellow Stansberry analysts and I were sharing our top investment recommendations. But mine wasn't a stock that will return triple-digit gains... It wasn't an income play to take advantage of rising interest rates...
In fact, it wasn't a financial investment at all.
Instead, I told the packed crowd, "Everyone should be lifting weights."
Lately, I've been reading tons of research on longevity. And it's clear to me that this is one of the most important things folks should be doing every day for a longer, healthier, and happier life.
Despite what most folks think, you're never too old to start weight training. And lifting weights won't necessarily make you look bulky, either (I'm talking to you, ladies)...
Just ask Edith Murway-Traina, who holds the Guinness World Record for being the oldest competitive powerlifter in the world. A former dance instructor, Murway-Traina turned 101 in August and discovered her passion for lifting at age 91. These days, she deadlifts 150 pounds.
Or ask Catherine Walter, a 75-year-old Oxford University fellow who is also a world champion powerlifter. In a 2018 interview, Walker told BBC News:
In school, I was always "not good at sports." It just took me 65 years to find the sport I was good at... After the age of 40, your muscles start deteriorating. Cycling won't help it, swimming won't help it, walking to the shops and doing aquagym certainly won't help it. The only thing that will keep your muscles from deteriorating is resistance exercise, lifting heavy weights.
And, as if saving your muscles from deteriorating wasn't enough reason to start lifting weights, studies show that the benefits of weightlifting go even further...
In a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine in September, researchers from the National Cancer Institute conducted an observational study of nearly 100,000 adults – aged 66 to 76 years at the start of the study – over a 10-year period.
They gave participants questionnaires – collecting information about their exercise and lifestyle habits. Then, researchers followed up with the participants a decade later to see who was still alive and assess what had been the cause of death for those who had died.
From the study, the researchers determined that folks who reported lifting weights once or twice a week had a 9% lower risk of dying from any cause except cancer, compared with those who did not exercise.
And the folks doing one or two days of weightlifting a week – as well as 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity cardio or 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio every week – had a 41% lower risk of dying within the study timeline than those who did not exercise.
That's because weightlifting – when done properly – leads to increased muscle mass, fewer muscle aches and pains, reduced muscle injury risk, and stronger bones. The key is to go at the right pace for you.
One way to do that is by consulting with an experienced personal trainer. They'll assess how much weight is the correct amount for you to start with, and they'll take a look at your form while doing the weightlifting exercises to make sure you're positioning yourself properly and won't end up hurting yourself. Together, you'll set goals and develop a routine.
Lots of gyms – like Planet Fitness, for example – have trainers that you can consult with for free if you're a member. Getting a recommendation from a friend who works with a personal trainer is another a great way to find someone. Check with your local senior center to see if they offer any weightlifting instructions.
You can also get started on your own at home with some dumbbells – assuming you don't have any injuries that are currently limiting your range of motion. If you do have movement restrictions, I'd suggest consulting with a personal trainer or physical therapist first.
The key here is to choose the right weight...
The right dumbbell weight you'll need may vary depending on the exercise. For instance, you may be able to hold a heavier dumbbell when doing a leg-strengthening exercise, but then need a lighter one for an arm-strengthening exercise. Having three different dumbbell weights with you while exercising allows you to easily change the ones you use for each exercise.
For each individual exercise, choose a weight that is heavy enough to do 12 repetitions comfortably with but is still heavy enough to make your muscles feel tired as you approach the end of the set.
You'll be able to tell that a weight is too heavy if you start arching your back or swinging your body just to get through the movement. Avoid doing this. It's better to start small and work your way to heavier weights over time as the lower weights become too easy.
Also, remember that your body is a weight too. So even if you're not physically holding a weight, simply lifting your limbs up and against gravity is weightlifting.
Here are seven dumbbell exercises to get you started. Each exercise has a link that will take you to a YouTube video with instructions on how to complete these movements:
- Overhead Press for the shoulders.
- Bent-over Rows for the back and shoulders.
- Front Raises for the shoulders and back muscles.
- Biceps Curls for the biceps (front of the arm).
- Triceps Extensions for the triceps (back of the arms).
- Dumbbell Squats for the thighs, hips, and buttocks. (In this video, the instructor has his arms to the side, but you can also do this move while holding the weights by your shoulders, with palms facing each other.)
- Forward Lunges for the thighs, hips, and buttocks.
Let us know how you do and share any of your favorite weightlifting techniques by sending us an email: [email protected].
What We're Reading...
- Meet two other women who started weight training in their sixties.
- Something different: How does breathing affect your brain?
Here's to our health, wealth, and a great retirement,
Dr. David Eifrig and the Health & Wealth Bulletin Research Team
November 8, 2022