Not sure if I should post this in Powerful Women or here, or if another forum might be more appropriate, but seems like I will get the most readership here. Well, other than on SAMA and I am not sure how to stretch the definition enough for this post to be appropriate there. Or should I say, it is not INappropriate enough to belong there.
Here’s the deal. My lifting buddy is my 71 year old mother-in-law. She trains hard and really works on her form to make sure she is training safely. She competed in her first meet last March, setting a state record for her weight and age in the bench.
We trained together all summer while our trainer, her son/my husband, was out of town doing his internship. We trained together four times a week, so I know first hand just how careful she is with her training. Our trainer is excellent as well, has been lifting heavy over 25 years without a significant injury, which goes to show me that he knows how to lift safely.
She recently got back from a week at her daughter’s house, who had surgery and needed some help. Her daughter and son-in-law took her out to dinner one night and practically had her in tears, chewing her up one side and down the other, telling her that her weight-lifting is dangerous and she should not be doing it at her age, and especially because she had shoulder surgery and back surgery.
The back surgery was years ago, and is completely stable. The shoulder surgery is why she starting lifting in the first place. Her surgeon told her she would lose range of motion, her physical therapy was a joke and she was not improving. She went to her son, my husband, and told him that she was not willing to accept loss of range of motion as an answer. He responded by helping her rehab her shoulder with a weight lifting program. Through slow and careful work, she regained almost 100% of her range of motion.
She benches and deadlifts without pain, and continues to improve and lift heavier all the time. She is in excellent shape, probably the best shape of her life. She has had to cut the amount of blood pressure medication she is taking several times as her blood pressure gets lower. She is on I think a QUARTER of a pill, and probably is going to be weaned off even that. At a recent physical, her doctor declared she had the body of a 50 year old, not a 71 year old!
This woman is a dynamo and continually works me under the table. Her typical day begins with an hour on her stationary bike, followed by hours of mowing lawns or digging ditches (kidding about the ditches, but she is constantly busy), running around and remodelling half the town’s yards and bathrooms. Literally–she has learned to do these things for herself and often helps her neighbors and her church members. I joke that if anyone ever tied her to a chair and FORCED her to sit still, she would explode!
So, how can you help me? I would like some good links to send her, that she can forward on to her daughter. I told her just to blow her off and ignore her, but she is really upset by this.
I would like some links to articles that show the physical benefits of lifting weights, particularly for women, and particularly for older women. I found a fantastic article awhile back about lifting and the elderly and cannot seem to locate it. Seems like it might have been in an AARP publication. It talked about a study done in, I think, Canada, with very elderly folks prone to falls. They had given them a course of weight-lifting and tested them afterwards, with the goal of improving their stability and making them less prone to fall. One of the HUGE benefits they found was that across the board, these folks had a 14% improvement in cognitive functioning.
I will continue to search on my own, but if any of you have any useful links, that would be fantastic! I would especially be interested in articles from a medical and/or physical therapist point of view, as the daughter is a physical therapist and the son-in-law is an anesthesiologist.
Thanks in advance,
Linette, crusader for the elderly, and weightlifters everywhere!
PS: sorry, cannot help the information-gathering impulse. I am a librarian and it is a biological imperative for me!