It is possible to gain weight and stop working out as you age. This could be due to hormone shifts, fatigue, or injury. But the truth is, if you don't use your muscles you will lose them.
That’s why strength training, particularly for older adults, is so crucial for health. Strength exercises have the power to boost bone density, burn calories, enhance memory and even prevent conditions like osteoporosis. If you haven't been working out lately, here’s why it’s not too late to actually regain muscle mass after age 50.
Your body’s ability to manage daily physical stress decreases over the years. Combined with lower energy levels and higher risk for sedentary behavior, like sitting all day, muscle atrophy is more likely to occur. But, it’s possible to regain muscle mass, as well as bone mineral density, even after you reach your fifties. Muscle mass declines with age, simply because we are not doing anything to stop it. We lose, on average, ten pounds of lean muscle mass for every decade of adult life. The best way to stop this is to do strength training. Muscle burns more calories than fat does. So, as we lose muscle, our metabolic rate declines. This makes it more likely that we will begin to gain fat. This is another reason that strength training is extremely important & a simple fix to prevent metabolic decline.
Is it possible to regain muscle after 50? The short answer is absolutely! 100 percent yes! A study actually revealed that this can be done in as little as 40 minutes of strength training twice per week. The rate of muscle gain was the same for young adults, middle-aged adults, and older adults. Research shows that physical activity can help stave off the loss of muscle, similar to the impact of exercise on osteoporosis. Muscle loss can lead to frailty, which can cause falls or fractures. Frailty is often caused by nutritional deficiencies, loss of balance, gait, and cognitive impairment. All of this means that regular workouts play a huge role in maintaining overall good health, stability, and bone density as we age. And muscle wasting is preventable!
It is 100% possible to regain or to build muscle mass at age 50 or older. To build muscle mass, there should be a major focus on nutrition and diet. Make sure that you’re consuming an adequate amount of protein is critical to muscle development. Antioxidants are equally important for muscle recovery. For older clients, less beef should be consumed for heart health and digestion. But any other protein (fish, poultry, pork, eggs, greek yogurt, & cottage cheese) is a great option. As for antioxidants, blueberries are great to consume among other berries also. Multivitamins (ensure it has A, C, and E), and fish oil, & glutamine supplement can be taken for heart and joint health
How can you build muscle mass as you age? Even though building muscle mass might be harder as you age, it’s not impossible. It is recommended to do strength workouts with fewer sets spaced between rest days and eating plenty of protein. Strength workouts (ideally lifting weights) should focus on the major multi-joint movements. These include squats, deadlifts, rows, chest presses, core work, and overhead press. It’s fine to add in single-joint moves like bicep curls, triceps, hip abduction/adduction, and calf raises. But the big multi-joint moves should form the foundation of your strength work. Older adults have an easier time maintaining muscle mass with less work performed more often. A 20-something body will build muscle mass with lots of sets performed at medium-high intensity, with four to seven days rest in between ‘body part’ workouts. A 50+ body will generally do better with fewer sets performed every other day. Weight bearing exercises such as walking, running, hiking, dancing, and jumping, as well as resistance training with free weights, weight machines, and resistance bands, have been shown to greatly impact muscle and bone health in the elderly.
For seniors, they don’t necessarily have to lift really heavy things. However, to gain muscle mass, you do have to lift until fatigue or failure. This means breaking away from the traditional three sets of ten model. Instead, think more about doing enough repetitions to get your muscles pretty tired, where you actually need to take a break before being able to do more.
SWhat should I eat to build muscle mass?
So what should you eat to build muscle mass? Sufficient nutrient intake is crucial to avoid muscle loss. Make sure that you’re getting enough protein, anti-inflammatory and nutrient-dense foods, and both calcium and vitamin D, plus supporting vitamins and minerals. Good nutrition is the key ingredient to rebuilding muscle mass, especially for those over 50.
Protein is essential for building and maintaining muscle. Quite often seniors begin eating less as they age. This can diminish their daily nutrient intake. The best sources of muscle-building protein are whey, eggs, fish, lean meats, and poultry. Finally, maintain a variety in your fitness routine. Reach out to experts to figure out a workout plan that meets your needs. While any working out is good, it is important to make sure that you are not put in a box when selecting a workout. You are your own body type. Seeing a personal trainer to identify a workout that specifically matches you is the best route to take when re-gaining muscle mass. Improving muscle strength is extremely important. Reduced muscle strength is a cause of disability. Muscle strength and power are critical components of walking ability and fall prevention, especially in the elderly. Additionally, improving muscle mass directly influences aerobic capacity. This is your ability to stand, walk, and move for long periods of time. Movement is medicine, so get moving!”