Age-related muscle loss, or sarcopenia, is a completely natural part of aging and can take effect from the age of 30 when you start losing as much as 5% muscle mass per decade. Most men will lose about 30% of their muscle mass during their lifetimes. A decrease in muscle means an increase in weakness and reduced mobility, which can increase the risk of falls and fractures in seniors. The American Society for Bone and Mineral Research published a report in 2015 that found that people with sarcopenia had 3 times the risk of suffering from a low-trauma break as a result of a fall.
Building muscles at any age can be a very challenging and often frustrating process as it requires a lot of time, persistence, and dedication. Unfortunately, the older you get the harder it becomes to build lean muscle. As men age their testosterone level tend to decrease making it harder to grow new muscle tissue, it is not, however, impossible. The right training paired with healthy, balanced eating can have you still looking fabulous long after you turn 60. By following a few simple guidelines when wanting to build muscles as a senior you will soon be on your way to sporting a desirable physique.
As testosterone levels decrease with age, it makes muscle building a lot harder and can also slow down your metabolism significantly, which can result in fat gain. This is, thankfully, not a foregone conclusion as training and diet can increase your testosterone levels significantly. Another factor to consider is the potential occurrence of injury. As you get older your joints get stiffer and muscles weaken, which may see you coming across certain exercises that you simply cannot do. Simply find an alternative to these exercises or try building up to them very gradually.
Weight training is the leading way to build muscle. Senior novice weight lifters will reap the best rewards by engaging in 2 to 3 full-body workouts a week. These full-body workouts are more efficient at increasing testosterone levels and stimulating the metabolism than split-workouts are. Focus on compound exercises such as dead-lifts, squats, rows, and bench presses that will work your entire body. Start light and gradually increase weights and reps every week while remembering to give your body enough time to heal after each workout.
High protein intake is vital for optimal muscle growth while essential fats are needed for hormone production. It is even more important to ensure that both your protein and fat intake is obtained from good quality, healthy sources such as lean meat and chicken, fish, free-range eggs, avocado, organic peanut butter, olive oil, and fish oils. You can also make your own delicious protein shakes to help increase your intake effortlessly. Vegetables are a must in every balanced diet and should be included in every meal. Carbohydrates also play a role in a balanced diet and are required for energy and recovery, although consuming too much can lead to fat gain. Choose slow-digesting carbs such as sweet potatoes and brown rice and only consume them after your workouts.
Muscle building later in life needs to be embraced as a gradual process, which may take some extra patience. Experiment with certain exercise and dietary combinations until you find one that best suits your personal needs. It is never too late to change from an unhealthy, sedentary lifestyle to an active, healthy one. Building muscle at any age is possible but remember to consult with your doctor before embarking on any new exercise routine.
by Jennifer Dawson