As you become older, it may become harder to keep working out and weight gain can become inevitable due to injury, fatigue, or hormone shifts. Your muscles are only as good as how much you use them, which is why strength training for older adults is so important for health. Strength exercises are powerful for preventing various health conditions, improving memory, burning calories, and enhancing bone density.
Reduced Muscle Mass with Age
Muscle mass normally peaks at around age 40 and then starts declining due to sedentary lifestyles and lack of exercise. The body’s ability to deal with physical stress on a daily basis reduces with age. When combined with a higher chance for sedentary behavior and lower energy levels, there is a higher risk of developing muscle atrophy. Regaining muscle mass and bone mineral density is possible even after reaching one’s fifties.
Usually muscle mass reduces with age because we are not doing anything to prevent it and the best way to do this is through strength training. The muscles burn more calories than they do fat, which is why when muscle loss occurs, there is a decline in metabolic rate. This increases your chances of gaining fat. Strength training is a simple yet important solution for this.
Can You Regain Muscle Mass after Age 50?
The answer is yes you can even with 40 minutes of strength training two times a week. Physical activity has been shown to help in preventing sarcopenia in the same way exercise can help to keep osteoporosis at bay. Muscle loss can make one become frail leading to increased fractures or falls. Frailty is usually characterized by cognitive impairment, gait, loss of balance, and nutritional deficiencies. Regular training is significant to promoting healthy bone density, stability, and good health with old age. When trying to build muscle after age50, the primary focus should be on the diet and nutritional aspects. You should make sure you are taking the right amount of protein for proper muscle development to occur. Less beef is for older adults to promote digestion and heart health but other proteins such as lentils/beans, eggs, pork, poultry, or fish are good options. When it comes to antioxidants, glutamine supplements, fish oil, multivitamins, or blueberries are beneficial for joint and heart health.
Nutrition for Building Muscle Mass After 50
In order to prevent muscle loss after 50, you should be mindful of adequate nutrient intake. Ensure you are getting sufficient vitamin D, calcium, nutrient-dense and anti-inflammatory foods, and protein as well as supporting minerals and vitamins. Protein is beneficial for building and sustaining muscle mass.
Ginger helps to alleviate muscle soreness and pain. Vitamin C protects your body from oxidative stress induced by peppers and is found in green peppers, broccoli, and oranges.
Iron helps to transport oxygen to your muscles and can be found in red meat, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin D and calcium help with muscle contraction and they can be found in almonds, milk, cheese, and yogurt.
Seniors usually start eating less as they become older, which can reduce their nutrient intake. You can determine your minimum daily-recommended protein intake by eating half of your weight in grams. The best protein sources for muscle building include poultry, lean meats, fish, eggs, and whey.
Carbohydrate intake is also important when training to build muscle after 50 as carbs help to power your workouts and provide you with energy. You should concentrate on taking complex carbohydrates high in fiber and whole grains. This will leave you feeling more satiated throughout the day and it will improve your overall health.
Whether you have been training throughout your life or are a beginner, strength training is very important if you are looking to build muscle after age50. A strong core and healthy muscles are important in supporting aging joints for pain relief and improving your general quality of life. It also helps to do daily activities and move around thus making it easier to live your life. You will also reduce the risk of developing conditions such as osteoporosis.
Making an Exercise Plan for Muscle Building
If you are over 50 years of age, you need to plan before embarking on your journey to build muscle and increase your body strength. You need to set up a routine before going to a gym so that you will simply get down to business. When you know exactly what you are doing, this will also keep your confidence levels elevated. As you create your exercise plan, you need to concentrate on preserving consistency because a little can go a long way in terms of fitness. You will feel better overall and you will go about your life easier. Develop a plan and go with it in order to maintain your independence and strength as you become older.
You can set up your training schedule based on these three factors.
Amount of Time Dedicated to Lifting
It is strongly advised that you develop a regular routine in which you will be lifting weights at least 2 to 3 days in a week. This is shown as the minimum recommended frequency required to get positive results of lifting after 50. If you add more lifting days to your schedule, this can give you more benefits but you should think about your possible restrictions and your capabilities.
When to Train
There are varying opinions regarding the best time to work out but you should select the best time for your body and your life. Some people find it easier to work out early in the day because they are too tired in the evenings. Some people are more motivated to work out later in the day. Morning and evening exercise each has their benefits but what is important is that you put in the work.
Where to Train
There are various places for you to workout, each with its own benefits.
Training at the gym gives you access to all kinds of equipment you probably do not have at home and you will get to join classes and meet new people at a gym.
Training at home gives you privacy and you are able to work out according to your own schedule and at your own pace.
Exercises to Help You Build Muscle After 50
Elementary lifting movements will be the foundation of your workout routine since you are looking to build muscle.
These include dumbbells and barbells and they force the body to work in a coordinated manner. Various muscle groups work in harmony to develop your functional strength. Training with free weights offers you different modification options, stabilized muscles and a strengthened core, as well as enhanced functional mobility. Always use proper form when using free weights to avoid risking injury.
These are ideal for focusing on specific muscle groups and are excellent for beginners because they give you direction in the range of motion. They have a reduced risk of injury compared to free weights. Exercise machines allow you to change weights easily; you can lie down or sit while doing the exercise and they offer easy-to-perform movements. When training with exercise machines, consider that they do not stabilize muscles and strengthen your core as much as free weights do.
Bodyweight Strength Training
These exercises involve you working against the resistance provided by your own bodyweight. Some of the benefits of bodyweight training include:
– You can incorporate them into a cardio training routine
– You can perform them in a pool to provide a low-impact workout
– You can alter the exercises to increase the difficulty level
– You do not need expensive equipment to do them
– You can do them anywhere
Cardio Training for Building Muscle after 50
Some cardiovascular exercises possess elements of strength training such as climbing stairs, which helps to develop quad strength. Advantages of undertaking cardio regularly include improved mood, heart health, and muscle strength.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Training to Build Muscle After 50
Make sure all your movements are fluid and lift your weights in a controlled and slow motion. Never lock the joint when lifting weights and try going with a personal trainer to get the proper form right from the start.
Starting Out Too Heavy
Ensure you develop muscular endurance and balance to give your body time to adapt to heavier loads. When starting out, concentrate on developing perfect form and core strength by lifting lighter weights for higher repetitions.
Always Warm Up
Make sure you prepare your muscles for the exercises to be performed by doing a lightweight or bodyweight warm-up before getting into the lifting. This helps to prepare the neuromuscular system.
Advantages of Building Muscle After 50
– Reduced risk of falling and improved balance
– Better functional mobility resulting from lifting weights will enhance walking speed making life easier
– Strength training simulates metabolism leaving the body prepared to burn food and fat
– Improved well-being and health is another benefit of strength training not to mention it can enhance your sleep quality
– Reduced risk of disease
– Improved functional mobility and balance makes you more independent and you will not have to rely on family members or friends too much.