As your body ages, it's natural for your approach to fitness to change from when you were younger. Our workout routines should adapt to our changing bodies, not the other way around. The same holds true for muscle building. Rather than spending hours lifting weights, gaining muscle mass as an older adult requires a change in fitness routines designed with your body in mind, allowing even the most senior citizens to reap the benefits of increased muscle mass.
Why Build Muscle?
We lose about 15% of our lean muscle mass after the age of 30. Our muscles help us maintain our overall health and age gracefully. Muscle growth has three primary advantages for older adults:
- Improves balance, lowering the risk of falling.
- Reduces the symptoms of aging issues such as osteoporosis
- Reduces arthritis aches and pains
As you get older, your chances of falling and injuring yourself increase, so having more muscle mass may reduce your chances of falling. Even a small amount of strength training to increase muscle mass can increase bone density, improving overall balance and strength. Increased bone density also helps reduce symptoms of common aging ailments, such as osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition in which our bones become porous, making them more fragile and prone to fractures. Weight training keeps the bones strong and healthy while also strengthening the muscles that surround them.
Strength training, similarly, helps keep the cartilage between your joints from deteriorating, which means no joint stiffness or pain. The more active and mobile you are, the less likely you are to suffer from arthritis, lower back pain, and other joint pains.
How to Build Muscle Mass for Older People
While exercise is an important component of muscle growth in older adults, it is also important to maintain a healthy balance of nutrition, activity, and rest in order to get the most out of your fitness routine.
Eating healthy does not simply imply avoiding junk food. It entails ensuring that your body receives the nutrients it requires. If you're wondering how to gain muscle mass as an older adult, think about your diet as well as your exercise routine. Maintain a high fiber intake, monitor your calcium and vitamin D intake, and concentrate on three key areas.
Exercise is required to increase muscle mass, but the type of exercise is important. Cardiovascular and strength training are the two most effective ways for an older adult to gain muscle mass.
Cardio is something that everyone needs, especially those who lead sedentary lives. It is critical for overall cardiovascular health and metabolism. It also doesn't have to be too strenuous. Something low-impact, such as walking or biking, can suffice for older adults.
Strength training is the key to muscle growth in older people. It's best to start with light weights and progress slowly. Slow movements with lighter weights put more strain on your muscles. If you don't have any weights, you can use your own bodyweight to perform resistance exercises such as push-ups and squats.
Regardless of how active you become, you must remain mindful of your abilities and limitations. It can be difficult to determine which exercises you can and cannot do safely as you get older, so having a professional personal trainer can help you understand how your body works and what is and isn't safe for you.
Because exercise strains your muscles, it's critical to allow them time to recover. Avoid working out the same muscle groups on consecutive days. Allow a day or two between sessions instead. You don't want to injure yourself, so prioritize rest as well. Rest isn't just important in the days following your workout. It is also required immediately following your workout. Any exercise regimen should be followed by a few minutes of cooling down to allow your muscles to relax and your heart rate to return to normal. Stretching is an excellent way to accomplish this, as it also helps to reduce the likelihood of post-workout soreness.
When it comes to fitness, everyone's results will differ. Some people notice changes within weeks, while others take months. Your level of fitness beforehand, as well as the makeup of your body, influence how quickly you'll see results. Having clear, specific goals is the best way to see results in yourself because you can focus on how to achieve them. Some older adults believe they are too old to achieve such fitness goals, but the truth is that there is no such thing as being too old when it comes to your health and well-being.
There's no reason you can't see the results you want and deserve if you're serious about gaining muscle mass as an older adult and work within your body's capabilities. Seeking out a personal trainer can help you narrow down your fitness goals and find the best regimen for you.