Strength training is the secret to muscle growth for older adults. It's best to do this with light weights and to work slowly. Slow movements with lighter weights force your muscles to work harder. If you don't have a set of weights, you can use your body weight with resistance exercises like push-ups and squats.
“Research shows that, even into your late 80s, your body still has the potential to build muscle mass,” Stacy Schroder, director of wellness at Masonic Village at Elizabethtown, said.
Most researchers advise training at least three times a week but not more than six. If you are using resistance-training equipment, then allow for a two-minute rest period between each machine. Training the low back muscles once a week seems to be just as effective as doing it more often.
Gaining Muscle Mass by Lifting Weights
Resistance exercise like weight training is one of the best ways of reversing the loss of muscle mass as you age. It benefits both men and women. Both groups typically lose muscle mass because levels of testosterone or estrogen go down as you age.
Because of the factors above, research supports increasing the recommended intake of protein for older adults by up to 50 percent. That means people over age 65 should strive for 0.45 to 0.55 gram of protein per pound of body weight daily, or about 68 to 83 grams for a 150-pound person.
Get aerobic exercise: Most older adults need about 2½ hours of aerobic exercise, like brisk walking, every week. That's about 30 minutes on most days. Endurance exercises like walking, dancing, and playing tennis help your breathing, heart rate, and energy. Stay flexible: Try stretching and yoga.
The national average for 60-year-olds is six pushups for women and 17 for men, so by the age of 70 you may want to aim for three pushups for women and eight to 10 for men.
Rotator cuff injuries are common in people over 50, so consider substituting this exercise for something different. Heavy weights. Lifting weights is a great way to build muscle strength, but when you're over 50 there is no reason to push yourself too hard.
Whey Protein Shakes May Help Build Muscle Mass in Seniors. Researchers say protein shakes combined with exercises showed significant health benefits in a group of men over the age of 70. Senior citizens may want to take a tip from body builders and make whey protein shakes a regular part of their diets.
Whey is one of the highest quality proteins and is ideal for older persons," says Stuart Phillips, senior author on the paper and a professor of kinesiology at McMaster. Researchers set out to compare the impact of whey versus collagen protein on muscle loss during periods of inactivity and then recovery.
Muscle mass decreases approximately 3–8% per decade after the age of 30 and this rate of decline is even higher after the age of 60 [4,5]. This involuntary loss of muscle mass, strength, and function is a fundamental cause of and contributor to disability in older people.
Adults aged 65 and older need: At least 150 minutes a week (for example, 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week) of moderate intensity activity such as brisk walking. Or they need 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity activity such as hiking, jogging, or running. At least 2 days a week of activities that strengthen muscles.
It's Never Too Late to Build Muscle
Though you might not see improvement in days, you likely will in weeks. For example, one German review found measurable increases in muscle size occur in as little as six to nine weeks of consistent strength training in adults older than 60.
No matter what your age, you can improve your fitness.
You can improve your fitness at any age. "The stories in this area are actually very dramatic. Even people 100 years old or older can build muscle strength," says Dr.
Generally, older adults in good physical shape walk somewhere between 2,000 and 9,000 steps daily. This translates into walking distances of 1 and 4-1/2 miles respectively. Increasing the walking distance by roughly a mile will produce health benefits.
In America, one researcher found that you are considered old at 70 to 71 years of age for men and 73 to 73 for women.
Early morning exercise can help your aging loved one stick to his/her goals to stay active and well before daily plans get in the way. A morning exercise routine can help keep your loved one's brain and body healthy with increased mental focus.
Vitamin D may be protective for muscle loss; a more alkalinogenic diet and diets higher in the anti-oxidant nutrients vitamin C and vitamin E may also prevent muscle loss.
So in addition to cardiovascular activities, seniors should consider weight training. The American College Of Sports Medicine recommends weight training for all people over age 50 and tells us even those into their 90s can benefit.
Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with arms at your sides and palms facing forward. Keeping your torso stationary and elbows tucked close to your sides, bend your elbows (not your wrists) to curl the weights up to your shoulders. Pause, then slowly return to starting position.