Age and power training

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Age and power training

Age and power training
Are you hiding behind aging as an excuse for not going all-out when you exercise? Or do you use old age as a reason for low-intensity output? You can now officially toss those excuses away, as researchers just kicked the props out from under these assumptions for good.
In the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, researchers point out: “It has been generally suggested that exercise intensity progression for healthy, older adults should be slow and with lower increases than for young adults to prevent injuries and muscle damage because of a greater adaptation. Our data does not support this recommendation; instead, suggesting that healthy older adults can exercise and make exercise progression at the same intensity as younger adults.”
That seemingly innocent statement is, in reality, a shocking revelation. Can older adults exercise at an intensity level that approaches that of younger adults? The conclusions that come from this research are revolutionary.
This affects everyone from older adults, and those who are just starting to age. Imagine being able to crank up the intensity like a youngster.
The study wasn’t the only recent piece to spotlight pushing your body harder as you age.

Another study titled: “A comparison of high-speed power training and traditional slow-speed resistance training in older adults” was also published in the Journal by the Neuromuscular Research and Rehabilitation Laboratory at the University of Missouri, and it came to similar conclusions. Notably, the researchers explicitly stated: “High-speed power training improved speed-related muscle performance characteristics compared to traditional slow-speed resistance training, particularly at lower external resistances.
Based on these findings, we recommend including a resistance training protocol in older adults that emphasizes high-speed movements at low external resistance.”
The researchers note that both high-speed and traditional style training should be mixed together for older adults. That’s fantastic because the high-end portion has been missing from most workouts for seniors. And arguably, this is the element that will make all the difference.
The good news from these studies is that older adults can push themselves more at the upper end of the workout scale. When you’re able to put in a more intense conditioning program, you get into the “sweet spot” where gains come most readily. Intense training translates into impressive gains — even if you’re old.
In essence, the green light has been given for older people to get into that sweet spot training range that revolves around more intense workouts.  
Intense training can pay off big time. Amazingly, men in their seventies who lift weights are as strong as guys in their twenties who don’t lift weights. The element of intensity is vital for keeping your body moving ahead.
In the past, trainers, physicians, and clients alike have fallen prey to the idea that older people should be treated as fragile. People tended to start taking it easy as they hit middle-age and certainly didn’t push as hard as they got into the decades after mid-age.
However, studies at Tufts University found that even very old adult who was put on a challenging weight training regime improved so much that some were able to throw away their walkers and canes. At the heart of the training that turned out to be more productive was weightlifting.
It’s important to realize that to get to the point of more active, intense training, older adults will have to change their mindset. Your mind is the first and most crucial step in making change happen.

Older people have to buy into the idea of a more challenging routine.  
Intensity is as much an attitude and training philosophy as it is a physical activity. The more intense your attitude, the more intense your training will become.
First, ease into the higher intensity approach. Don’t just go out and suddenly force yourself into a hardcore routine.  You want to increase the difficulty levels incrementally. You need to climb this new mountain of challenge by steps, not by leaps.
Second, go with a longer, more focused warm-up period. Young people can jump right into a hardcore workout and generally have no issues. Older bodies, just like older vehicles, need longer to warm up. A longer warm-up can make all the difference between a successful or unsuccessful routine. Specifically, insert a longer warm-up before you initiate intense training.
You don’t have to forgo the standard slower training, but simply add some intense workouts to the weekly routine.
Build into the intensity slowly but surely, and keep pushing forward. Intensity lies on the path to improvement for everyone.
Age is no excuse.
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