Forget the flowers, fragrances and chocolates …this year give your Mom a very special gift that keeps on giving. No, I’m definitely not talking about a subscription to the “jelly or cupcake of the month” club either!
Give her the gift of longevity, vitality and strength- send your Mom to Muscle Camp! I know you are chuckling and shaking your head the wrong way (from side to side) instantly dismissing this suggestion. Definitely not My Mom, you are probably saying!
Great if your Mom already leads an active life, power walks or does aqua aerobics several times per week like my mom, but all exercises are not created equally. Weight lifting might be the last thing you imagine for your own mom, but here are a few compelling reasons why it is the perfect fit for her!
Bone Density – My Mom has been shrinking and that is a fact, unfortunately I am referring to her height. Most women of a certain age are on high alert for osteoporosis and have their bone density measured regularly. Research shows that weight bearing exercises benefit bone density and can reduce the bone loss associated with osteoporosis. A walk in the park isn’t gonna do it! (Here’s a great article about Osteoporosis & strength training on stumptuous.)
Posture- Years of hard work have taken their toll on your poor Mother! It’s never too late for her to learn how to move and engage muscles correctly, which is the foundation of weight training. Good news too that there is an extra benefit of spending so much time in front of the gym mirrors focused on posture and alignment with barbell in hand. This renewed sense of body awareness will no doubt stick with your Mom throughout the day, and the posture “autocorrect” will be switched on so you won’t have to remind your Mom as she used to do to you, “Stand up straight, no slouching!”
Mobility – “Correcting posture, making the muscles stronger, and training the proper movement patterns will make your movements pain free and more functional for years to come,” says Justin Thacker. Here’s a related article on knee pain.This can prevent further pain and diminishing integrity of the cartilage, bone, surrounding connective tissue, and muscle tone. Many people as they age, simply accept limited mobility as fact and therefore do less, which further reduces their ability to move. Vicious cycle- Move it or lose it!
Longevity- The authors, Schuler & Cosgrove, of the new book The New Rules of Lifting for Life, cite 3 compelling findings from their research for your Mom to start strength training. 1. “Every age group, from children to men and women in their 90s, and it’s clear that you can get stronger at any age,” 2.” The average man or woman will lose about 1 percent of their muscle mass per year, starting in middle age.” 3.“Strength is directly correlated to longevity. It almost doesn’t matter what type of strength is being measured — abs, thighs, grip. The strongest people live the longest. So no matter what age you are, being even a little stronger is always better.”
Vitality- The benefits of your Mom performing any type of exercise are abundant for both body and mind. In addition to the many health related benefits, Strength Training can give your Mom a big Mental and Emotional boost too! New research even shows that strength training makes you smarter too. Move over meatheads, weight lifting is actually a “Thinking Mom’s Sport”. There are so many things to keep in mind with each exercise, especially for beginners, so it is a great workout for the mind as well.
When my Mom laid down on the bench this week with dumb bells overhead for the first time, she looked a little afraid, but I can tell you she felt alive! And when she finished her workout…she felt strong & empowered!! So even though it may be difficult to imagine your own Mom doing Barbell squats, Dead lifts and Bench Press…your Mom will thank you!
My own Mom is actually being held hostage at Muscle Camp right now as we speak, by me of course. She came willingly, well she came to Holland for a visit willingly, and even appears to have mentally prepared herself in anticipation of spending one month with this hardcore version of her daughter. She’s been working hard in the gym every day! We have set a weight loss target, but “my not-so-secret mission” is to improve her posture, mobility and send her back home with the confidence and knowledge to preform the strength training exercises on her own with good form.
As I stood next to her, teaching her the JTLC warm-up yesterday, I watched the two of us in the mirror wondering what kind of crazy things my own daughter will be teaching me when she is all grown up. My Mom being open to try new things and her willingness to let me “teach” her are in fact what keep her young & vivacious. I am lucky to have such a wonderful and supportive Mom and even luckier that she is here with me now.
So, go spend some quality time with Mom and hit the heavy weights together!;-)
If you are not up to making your own Muscle Camp for your Mom, and you live in St. Louis…you already know where to go, the Lab Gym. Your Mom will really thank you if you hire a hunky Personal Trainer for her:-) If you’d like to try the DIY approach to Muscle Camp for your Mom or yourself, contact me for details.
Happy Mother’s Day!