As a master lifter (read.. older athlete), I can speak from experience when it comes to the benefits of weightlifting. This applies to any physical endeavor – “use it or lose it” – is an absolute truism. I recently had a good conversation on the subject with my good friend and awesome master lifter, Jim Storch. Whatever minor aches and pains we get from pushing ourselves to excel in this sport at our age, it pales in comparison to the aches and pains we feel when we don’t workout. More importantly, as we age we naturally lose bone density. Numerous studies have shown that strength training increases bone density at any age, even if you never trained before.
That said, as you get older, an important part of training – recovery, becomes even more important. Recovery includes rest, massage therapy (and derivatives), sauna, etc. If you have a given injury, you need to rehab it and work around it. “Pushing through” will only make matters worse. This applies to any athlete, not just master athletes; however, our bodies are less forgiving now than when we were younger.
You CAN continue to improve, especially those of you who started later in life. Those whose glory days are behind will need to put today’s numbers in perspective. That said, if you track your Sinclair-Malone-Meltzer numbers, you can see progress relative to age and bodyweight. Here’s the IWF link to their calculator.
As I get older, my passion for this sport continues to grow. I truly enjoy the challenge, the camaraderie, and the benefits to my health. I hope you do, too.