It is a common misconception that people over a certain age are no longer able to lift weights, no matter how heavy they are, when in reality a lot of older people can really benefit from lifting weights as part of their active routine.
Even if you are a beginner or using it as part of physical therapy, starting with a light weight can do more than just build up your arm muscles. When you do a proper lift, you need to make sure all your muscles are engaged. This means if you are standing up, your legs are in proper position and your leg muscles are engaged and same thing happens with your core muscles as well. If you need to be sitting, your core muscles are still engaged with a straight back. Using all these muscles when lifting either 2 pounds or 20 pounds will still make a difference for your body over all.
With this general build up of muscles you will start to see greater stability when walking, better balance and greater stamina while walking. Your muscles are getting used to being flexed and relied upon consistently and will come in handy if you stumble before a fall as your body may be able to correct your balance.
Another way weightlifting can help you is that it gives you energy to perform your daily tasks quicker and without exhausting you in the process. Things like carrying groceries or walking up a flight of stairs could be night and day when compared to non-weightlifters.
It can aid in your range of motion, improve your flexibility and give you relief from arthritis pain.
While lifting weights may not burn a lot of calories because you are not working your cardiovascular system too hard, it will still speed up your metabolism which can result in weight loss.
If you are considering lifting weights as part of your exercise routine you should always check with your doctor before hand. It is also important to have someone show you proper body mechanics while lifting weights so you do not injure yourself, no matter how light or how heavy the weight. There are different ways to lift weights, from free weight (hand weights) to weights on a bar, to using specific machines that target certain muscles and keep the weights safely locked in so you do not have to worry about dropping them. Going for a tour of your local gym or joining a class can help you understand what you want to get out of weightlifting and what type works best for you.