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5 Dangers of Ego Lifting You Should Know After 40.

Updated: Jul 18, 2023


Man Ego Lifting

To my dear readers, as we age, it becomes increasingly crucial to approach strength training and weightlifting with caution and respect for our body's functional limitations. A familiar pitfall amongst most fitness enthusiasts is “ego-lifting.” What is meant by the term— “ego-lifting”? It is the very common practice of lifting weights much beyond one’s limit, and—consciously, unconsciously, or subconsciously—over-piling on the weights perhaps to satisfy one’s ego.

Some might say that this phenomenon - phenomenon because it has found its way into all circles of mainstream fitness training - of “ego-lifting” only applies to men. But they would be incorrect for it equally applies to women and their choices of exercises too. For women, similar pitfalls occur when they perform too many repetitions of multiple exercises in furtherance of the same body part. Ever heard of “Glute Camp”? Yes, these are "ego-lifting" camps. Participants - mostly women - in these camps are encouraged to hyperfocus on developing their glutes – the buttocks. And these participants do so whilst disregarding true form.


Within this blog post, I aim to touch upon five dangers of “ego-lifting” specifically after the age of 40 and why it is imperative to prioritize safety and longevity in our fitness journeys.


5 Dangers of Ego Lifting You Should Know.


1. Increased Risk of Injury:

One of the most consequential dangers of "ego-lifting", especially for individuals over the age of 40, is the increased risk of injury. Our muscles, tendons, and ligaments tend to become less flexible and more prone to strains, tears, and other injuries as we age. Using improper form or lifting weights that are too heavy for our current fitness level, tends to put excessive stress on these vulnerable areas, leading to strains, sprains, or even more severe injuries like herniated discs. These injuries can have long-lasting effects and may result in chronic pain or limited mobility, adversely impacting our quality of life.

2. Joint Stress and Degeneration:

“Ego-lifting” often involves pushing our joints beyond their capabilities, leading to increased stress and wear. After the age of 40, our joints, according to research published in the National Library of Medicine, may already exhibit signs of natural degeneration, such as decreased cartilage thickness or joint inflammation. Engaging in excessive weightlifting can compound these conditions and hasten joint degeneration, likely leading to conditions like arthritis. Over time, the added stress on the joints can damage their function and cause chronic pain, limiting our ability to engage in other physical activities.

3. Cardiovascular Strain:

Often involved in "ego-lifting" is the need to complete single-rep maximums or attempting intense sets without considering the overall impact on the cardiovascular system. Our cardiovascular health becomes increasingly important as we grow older, and undue strain from excessive weightlifting can raise blood pressure, increase the risk of heart attack or stroke, and place undue stress on the heart.


In addition, research has found that ignoring adequate rest intervals, skipping warm-ups, or engaging in high-intensity exercises without proper conditioning can possibly lead to life-threatening consequences.

4. Slowed Recovery and Overtraining:

Furthermore, our bodies require more time to recover from intense physical activity as we age. “Ego-lifting” often involves pushing ourselves to the limit and neglecting ample rest and recovery periods. This oftentimes results in overtraining, wherein the body is exposed to excessive stress without sufficient time for it to repair and rebuild itself.


Also, a recent study found overtraining not only compounds the risk of injuries but can also lead to chronic fatigue, decreased immune function, hormonal imbalances, and diminished overall performance. Prioritizing rest and recovery then, becomes vital past the age of 40. Such strategies are therefore necessary to avoid the aforementioned pitfalls.


5. Loss of Motivation and Discouragement:

Concluding, “ego-lifting” after the age of 40 can result in frustration, disappointment, and a loss of motivation. Striving to lift weights beyond our optimal capabilities oftentimes results in failure or substandard performance. Feelings of inadequacy and unrealistic expectations then becomes the norm. And it doesn’t help things either when we tend to at times compare ourselves to others, or Heaven forbid, measure ourselves against our former selves. Altogether, such mental and emotional tolls can and do undermine the joys and satisfactions we derive from our fitness journeys, potentially causing us to abandon weightlifting.


Conclusion:

Weightlifting and strength training are incredibly beneficial activities; however, it is critical to approach them with a sensible and realistic mindset, especially after the age of 40. Lifting weights with Ego in mind, poses significant dangers that is likely to lead to injuries, joint degeneration, cardiovascular strain, slowed recovery, and loss of motivation. My advice then is this, “By prioritizing proper technique, using appropriate weights, and incorporating adequate rest and recovery, those of us over 40 can make certain our fitness journeys are safe. Double-plus if they also remain sustainable.” Fitness is a journey that is unique to everyone. Thus, it must be approached with an overarching eye on overall health and the individual’s situational peculiarities." Top of Form


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