STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. - Strength-training can be a magic bullet as we get older. Studies show people in their 70’s, 80’s and even into their 90’s can get much stronger with resistance training. That can improve their day-to-day lives in so many ways.
Woodrow Richardson is a great example of that. At 76, he was so weak after surgery three years ago, he could barely get around.
"I couldn't lift my feet off the floor, I couldn't walk,” says Richardson.
Even just carrying an envelope across the room was challenging.
So about a month ago, Richardson asked Coach Stan Maddox of Live Now USA Health and Wellness to help him get stronger.
"I spoke to him and said, 'Look. I've got challenges with my balance. I've got challenges with weight. I've got challenges'" says Richardson.
Coach Stan was excited to get Woodrow back to exercising.
"It's never too late to get in shape,” Maddox says. “And the reality is as we age, to help us age gracefully, we need to combine it with some kind of strength training. You're going to (improve) balance and posture. You're actually building muscle tissue. It's also increases your bone density."
Coach Stan and Woodrow started small.
"When he first handed me a 3-pound weight, I wanted to laugh,” Richardson says. “But when I started to do the exercise, after 3 or 4 reps, it felt like I was lifting 100 pounds. Of course I got through that and he took me to the next level."
"But as time progressed, Mr. Woodrow got stronger, his balance was better, and he was able to do jumping jacks and push-ups, which I was very impressed with,” says Coach Stan.
Woodrow works out with a group, but the exercises are customized for him. They use resistance bands, which Coach Stan says are great for getting back in shape.
When asked how his workout is working out, Woodrow dances, smiling.
"I can hold the paper,” he says. “I can lift weights. I can do stuff."
Many gyms are now offering trainers and workout classes designed for seniors. Woodrow Richardson says finding the right coach -- and the right workout -- has changed everything.
"As a matter of fact, right now, though I'm not as strong as I'm going to be, I'm stronger than I ever was,” he says."