A recent article, How to Build Muscle as Age Tears It Down, was brought to my attention by loved ones–thank you–it’s a gem.
So how to do that at an advanced age when the article itself says that muscle loss begins in our thirties, gains momentum when we hit fifty, and accelerates in our seventies?
It even states that many in their forties and fifties are losing muscle, even if they are exercising fairly regularly.
So how to stop or at least slow down this cascade of bad news?
It’s no surprise to me or my clients that strength training is noted as the most important intervention.
The kicker in the article is a LINK to a 1994 study that showed that muscle loss can be slowed in most, and EVEN REVERSED IN SOME REGARDLESS OF AGE!
In other words, it said study participants GAINED muscle well past 90!
Another interesting point–which I skimmed over the first time I read the article–is that strength training not only builds muscles–it supports the connection between NERVES and muscle cells.
Pavel Tsatsouline and his famous phrase, “Greasing the Groove”, first opened my eves to the importance of building the nervous system–not just the muscles, which is why you often see guys who can move a lot of weight, but who don’t LOOK very big or strong. The act of doing a particular movement, and doing it fairly frequently, tends to build that “mind-muscle” connection.
But the real takeaway in the article is the conclusion that many don’t work INTENSELY enough to reap the full benefits of the workouts they do. Bottom line–going through the motions doesn’t cut it, no matter your age, but it’s particularly important when you get older.
The article’s comments regarding protein intake are also of great importance. Research suggests that older adults might benefit from ingesting higher than the current federal dietary guidelines’ recommended daily allowance (RDA). It also supports the use of animal proteins for optimal muscle gain, as they are complete proteins containing all essential amino acids.
Lighter intensity aerobic exercises like walking, jogging, and biking are given their due too, for improving the body’s response to insulin, and reducing fat that builds up deep in the abdomen, leading to INFLAMMATION, which as the article states, can lead to numerous diseases including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Reducing sugar and processed carbs (let’s call them basically the same thing!) are also mentioned, as well as eating a diet of colorful fruits, veggies, spices and a moderate amount of healthy fats, which also reduce inflammation and optimize muscle protein synthesis.
In short, the article covers some ground that is likely familiar to you, but also some ground that is more likely not so familiar, but super valuable.
It’s clear we’re waging battles on multiple fronts as we age. But right at the center of our warfare needs to be a smart, consistent exercise plan focussing on strength (and I’m going to add what the article didn’t explicitly say)–proportion (proportion is not just for aesthetics–without muscular balance injury is more likely to occur), and function.
At Greek Physique™, LLC, our clients have had great success–older men and women from thirties (yes, I said “thirties”) on up–with our 12-Week Transformation Program. To find out more or to get a FREE, No Obligation Consultation, GO HERE.
To Your Health and Fitness,
Founder, Greek Physique™, LLC
Patrick Rooney is the Owner of GREEK PHYSIQUE™, LLC a Personal Training company located in Middle Tennessee, which specializes in body sculpting for men and women. Patrick is certified through the National Association for Fitness Certification (NAFC). Patrick is available for Personal Training and Lifestyle Coaching, both in person and via phone and Skype. He can be reached at email@example.com.