Much like how there is much misconception regarding running amongst older adults, there are also much misconceptions regarding gym exercises. This is understandable as both the media and gyms themselves often like to paint the picture gym as pumping heavy weights and catering to muscle-bound guys and built but tone ladies. What’s its really like
But if one were to look into a community gym, they will realize it is often not the case. Heavy weights may be present but muscle-bound guys and built ladies aren’t the majority; instead,
it is more filled with regular folks looking to stay healthy and hit their fitness goals. With the right culture and atmosphere, the exercise room is hardly an intimidating place. The weights are really tools that are available for your disposal where appropriate. With the right approach to exercise, you may progressively include some of these lighter weights to help you with your progress. It doesn’t mean you have to use it or you will be made to use it if it’s there.
Appropriate exercise and weights prescription
It does however take a good trainer/ coach to program a workout that brings you to your goal while maximizing your safety. One may start small before progressing to slowly adding external load and additional stimulus. As the body adapts and becomes stronger, a good trainer/ coach will be able to identify how best to progress the exercise type and intensity. Depending on your goal, the exercise may cumulate to include “heavy weights”. The case in point is the term “heavy weights” is only heavy relative to the individual’s capability. We recognize that what is light to an individual may be heavy to another individual. How much absolute load the individual may work with is really dependent on their current fitness and ability. Based on that the exercise type and load (if any) may be adjusted so it is not too little/ easy nor is it too heavy/ hard for the individual. As for the idea that we need to master bodyweight exercise before being working with external load. That idea is both true and untrue. No doubt certain exercise requires you to first be able to handle your body weight before using an external load, but depending on how conditioned the individual is, working with bodyweight may prove to be too much load. For these instances, weights may come in as a regression. Like how push-up may be regressed to dumbbell bench press with lighter load to work the same area. Bodyweight or external load is dependent on the individual’s current ability and what has to be worked on. Finding a suitable gym
When you identify weights are merely tools that can be utilized where appropriate for each individual and when you find a suitable place and trainer/ coach, the gym becomes a much friendlier place. Like how there are fine-dining restaurants, casual restaurants, and hawker centres each targeting different population types and providing different kinds of food, there are different gym targeting different population segments. There’s always the transformation based gym that focuses on muscle hypertrophy and weight loss; the fight gym that does mixed martial arts training; the big commercial gym that tries to cater to everyone at the same time; the small group training gym that works well for an apparently healthy individual who enjoys somewhat personal coaching; the boutique gym that focuses on personal training; and finally there is us that understand how exercise can be utilized to optimize quality of life. At the end of the day, it is important for one to find that suits your goals and understand what you need.
Gym exercises for everyone?
So should everyone do gym exercises? Not necessarily. Gym exercises is really a way to stay active and keep fit. There are many ways to do so. One has to recognize that gym exercise just represents a convenient way to work through various areas of fitness and at varying intensity. There are plenty other ways to work with each of these different areas too. What’s more important is understanding what you want to achieve, how to achieve it, and what exactly to do to achieve it. Personally I’ll suggest combining different physical activities with gym exercise for older adults since a huge percentage only do brisk walking for exercise. Depending on needs and current physical activities level and type, one may or may not need to do gym exercises.
Supporting your lifestyle needs,