Why Your Grandma Should Lift Weights!

Why your grandma could be jacked

I came up with this headline while I was at my Mum’s house and she was serving me a huge plate of luscious tabouli made from her precious hands grown from her precious garden. It was delicious!

As she served, I noticed that she started hobbling along and when I asked her about it she brushed it off and continued to serve. I thought to myself, she has been hobbling on it for a while and managed to function daily she’s a strong woman if she was my client, I could definitely push her.

A few months passed and Mum was diagnosed with the usual, osteoarthritis in the pelvis, knee, hip and a nice complete tear in her glute med and min tendon. The ongoing treatment was the standard of massage and ongoing pain medication.

Needless to say I wasn’t satisfied with this outcome, why?

  1. It seemed like a standard prescription given out to everyone
  2. The injury began to restrict her social life

Now I know what you are thinking, oh wow social life big deal.

Well it is a big deal to be social when you are:

  • 80 years old
  • Live alone
  • Widowed
  • Sometimes a little lonely

So the question I posed, can your grandma get jacked? Let’s take a look at strength training and the benefits for older women.

The statistics indicate: muscle strength decreases by 1%-2% per year in people over 65 years at a greater rate for lower extremity than for the upper extremity.

Wait Wait Wait…. 1-2% isn’t that bad right? Ok well let’s add 10 years to that, so that’s 10% and I am being modest with that number. Still not enough? Well let’s add the following to the mix: osteoarthritis, poor eye sight and coordination, high blood pressure and compromised hearing.

Sound like a recipe for disaster? Glad you can see it now.

Hope is not lost Hagerman et aP 9 reported that old untrained skeletal muscle, if introduced to a specific type of resistance training regimen (85%-90% 1RM), adequate frequency (2 days/wk) and of relatively long duration (16 weeks), will increase its strength at an extent comparable to or even greater than that of younger subjects following a similar training protocol.

Massive statement here I get it but this means that even though your grandma has never lifted dumbbells in her life that doesn’t mean that she won’t reap the benefits Yippeee for Grandma.

 Not only will strength training help with muscle loss due to aging but it will also reduce the fragility of the senior.  When I say fragility think things like recurrent falls, bone fracture, disability, multiple emergency room visits and hospital admissions.

So what to do next? Get your Grandma involved! Due to COVID everyone has definitely been isolated especially the seniors.  Here are a few recommendations you can encourage your grandma. Senior or even any person who is a but hesitant to strength train. Please make sure you seek advice from your GP if you have any medical conditions that would prevent you from doing these exercises.

Try these exercises and perform 15-20 repetitions with a 1 minute rest after both exercises, repeat four times.

Wall Push Ups

Squats (relax it’s not what you think)

Bird Dog

Oops I almost forgot check out my own little journey with my Mum and how she is going embarking on a strength training program Why You’re Grandma Should Be Jacked

Reference:

  1. Beneka, A., Malliou, P., Fatouros, I., Jamurtas, A., Gioftsidou, A., Godolias, G., & Taxildaris, K. (2005). Resistance training effects on muscular strength of elderly are related to intensity and gender. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 8(3), 274–283. doi:10.1016/s1440-2440(05)80038-6 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3606891/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3117172/#:~:text=Effects%20of%20strength%20(resistance)%20training%20in%20elderly%20people&text=Laboratory%2Dbased%20studies%20showed%20that,6%E2%80%93%209%2C%20e2).

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4354895/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4308058/