Glossy magazines may promote weight lifting as the key to looking buff, but the real benefits of weight lifting can be much more practical when it comes to everyday living.
For heart-attack or osteoporosis patients, or for those who are simply combating the aging process, functional strength training can rebuild muscles and slow muscle loss, a process that begins at about age 30 and accelerates after 75, according to studies at the University of New Mexico.
When Sam Reitz began weight lifting, the last thing on his mind was bodybuilding. Reitz came out of rehab for a heart attack two years ago feeling weak. Even routine activities like climbing stairs were a chore.
"I was losing muscle because of some of the medications I was taking. Even things like going up and down the steps, I felt older. I don't feel that way anymore, says Reitz, a 75-year-old Medford resident. "On occasion, I now take two steps at a time."
Like many elderly patients, Reitz wanted a weight-lifting program that would help build strength for his daily activities. He chose a program at Medford-based Baxter Fitness.