Regardless of what you may have heard, fitness has no age limit. You can be in the best shape of your life after 50. While getting older is inevitable, the rocking chair is not. There are many factors involved in aging well. Keeping a youthful attitude is one. Exercise keeps you feeling and looking younger. In this article we will look at some tips for gaining muscle mass after 50.
Building muscle mass if you are over 50 is necessary if you want to age well. Exercise actually slows down the aging process. If you are over 50 and haven’t been strength training, you can start today!
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The Importance of Weight Lifting over 50
Strength training after 50 is necessary in order to increase muscle mass. You begin losing muscle mass around the age of 30. The primary treatment for muscle loss as you age, is exercise, specifically resistance training. For this reason, you need to consciously use your muscles if you want them to remain toned and strong.
Strength training does far more for you than just build muscles. Look at the list below to see how it benefits your body!
- Builds Muscle
- Strengthens the Heart
- Increases Lung Capacity
- Increases Bone Density
- Decreases Body Fat
- Speeds Up Metabolism
- Elevates Your Mood
- Boosts You Memory
- Gives You a Better Night’s Sleep
- Improves Balance and Coordination
- Reduces the risk of many health problems such as arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, back pain, and depression.
That represents a BIG improvement to your quality of life!
10 Tips for Gaining Muscle Mass after 50
- Consult with your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine.
- Eat some protein with each meal.
- Keep your diet colorful – fruit, veggies and carbs with your protein.
- Get adequate sleep.
- Frequent workouts.
- Lift weights – body weight works!
- Begin your workout with some warm-up exercises.
- Drink plenty of water, before, during, and after exercise.
- End your workout with cool-down stretches. to reduce injury or soreness the next day.
- Give your muscles time to recover.
Resistance training is the way to go if you want to increase your muscle mass. You can use resistance bands, a mini-trampoline, or your own body weight. A treadmill targets your glutes, hamstrings, and builds leg strength. Pulling exercises like rowing, or planks target core muscles and back strength. You can even use jugs of laundry detergent, water bottles, or soup cans for weights.
But what ever you do, do not work into pain. If you feel pain, STOP! Muscle fatigue is good but pain is not.
Gaining Muscle Mass after 50
You may want to work with a personal trainer. Aim for two to three days per week to maintain muscle mass. Some suggest you may need a bit more if you want to regain muscle mass you have lost…
- Push Ups
- The Plank
- A Lunge
- Full Body Roll-Up
- Dumbbell Dead-lifts
- Bird Dog
- Stability Ball Exercises
Building Muscle Takes Time
- Building muscle involves repairing micro traumas in your muscle fibers. It is a complex process.
- Each muscle is made up of tiny muscle fibers.
- When you lift weights, your muscles endure tiny injuries throughout their fibers.
- When you rest, your damaged muscles repair themselves.
- As your muscles repair themselves, they become stronger as a result of the repair process.
That is a very simplified way of explaining it. This process involves your nervous, circulatory, and endocrine systems, which all contribute to muscle repair and growth.
How to Build Muscle
- Protein is king when it comes to building muscle. Your muscles need adequate protein to repair themselves after being stressed through weight training.
- You need extra fuel from calories. It is walking a fine line to get enough calories, without getting more than your body needs.
- Your body repairs itself while you are sleeping. You need adequate sleep, so you are not sleep deprived.
- Do strength training one day and cardio the next. You need to give time for a workout and time for muscles to repair.
Other Factors in Muscle Building
Genetics and hormones, including human growth hormone and insulin growth factor are players in the process of developing muscles. Strength training for older women and men can and does occur, but it takes dedication and persistence. Working with a personal trainer can help.
It may take 6 to 8 weeks to see muscle growth and development. Your diet, sleep, and training are all part of optimized muscle growth. Weight training after 50 can develop increased muscle mass.
Weight training for women over 50 prevents the loss of muscle mass. It is just as important as weight training for men.
Training muscle has lasting benefits, more than most people realize. Reduced resting heart rate, improved circulation, increased energy, and improved memory are examples of a few. That looks like an improved quality of life!
As a normal part of aging you gradually lose muscle mass and bone density. It is usually because of a lack of physical activity. It is not a good idea to sit still for more than 45 minutes to one hour at a time. Moving about is better than no exercise at all.
As part of weekly activity, older adults should include muscle-strengthening exercise, as well as balance training and aerobic exercise. You need to adapt your training to challenge your daily growth.
Consult with your healthcare provider to determine what is possible for you to safely do. By increasing your activity levels gradually, you can reach your fitness goals and avoid injury. Choose safe environments and follow safe practices to enable this.
Strengthen Your Muscles
It is important for all the muscle groups of the body to be worked. That includes the legs, back, hips, abdomen, shoulders, chest, and arms.
The body responds when greater than normal physical stress is placed on it. This increases the strength of the muscles, bones, and other organs.
Strength training challenges your muscles. If you are new to strength training, add weights slowly to avoid sudden injuries or strains.
You can lift more weight by making small consistent changes in your training. As a result, your body adapts to the additional weight safely.
Train consistently and alternate between muscle training on one day and cardio on the other.
Strengthen Your Bones
Building muscle also builds strong bones. It is one of the most effective remedies against osteoporosis. Putting more tension on your muscles, also puts more pressure on your bones.
Your bones respond by creating fresh, new bone. In other words, resistance training builds stronger bones. The resistance that you use may be resistance bands, your own body weight, or dumbbells.
Preserving bone and joint health is essential as you age. Studies show that the decrease in bone density, which happens as we age, can be slowed with regular physical activity.
Weight-bearing produces a force on the bones that promotes bone growth and strength. This force is commonly produced by impact with the ground. Brisk walking and weight-lifting are some activities, to name just a few.
Try a pair of walking – hiking poles for ease of walking, and added balance!
Balance activities reduce the possibilities of falls. Exercises of this kind include, walking backward and standing on one leg. Strengthening the core muscles and leg muscles help prevent falls and assist you in keeping your balance.
Tai Chi includes balance activities. It is typically classified as a light-intensity activity and some forms may be considered muscle strengthening.
These activities assist you in tying your shoes or reaching for something on a high shelf. Stretching exercises which allow you to move through the full range of motion allow you to do these activities with greater flexibility.
Cardio respiratory health involves the health of the lungs, heart, and blood vessels. Heart disease and stroke are two of the leading causes of death in the United States. Physical activity greatly reduces the risk of both.
Regular, moderate physical activity also helps people with osteoarthritis or rheumatic conditions. Muscle-strengthening activities improve pain management, function, and quality of life.
Physical activity improves the lives of individuals of all ages. It helps you maintain your independence and reduces falls.
Middle-aged and older folks who are physically active have greater ability to carry out everyday activities, such as climbing stairs or shopping for groceries. They also have an improved memory with a lower risk of dementia.
Adults who are physically active sleep better. It takes them less time to fall asleep and many have less daytime sleepiness.
Supplement with a Balanced Diet
Eat a balance of lean protein, fruit, vegetables, carbs, and healthy fats.
The more muscle you have the better your metabolism, which means the more fat is burned without you trying. As you age, your metabolism slows down, but as you exercise, it will help you keep a healthy metabolism. This may help you keep your weight in check.
Tips for gaining muscle mass after 50. Gaining muscle mass benefits your heart, lungs, bones, metabolism, mood, and sleep.
Check with your doctor and start easy at the first. Begin your routine with dynamic warm up exercises and cool down when you have finished.
Stay hydrated before, during, and after your workout. If you feel PAIN, stop. (Muscle fatigue is good but pain is not.)
Alternate days of strength training with days of cardio to give your muscles time to repair themselves.
Be aware of these tips for gaining muscle mass after 50 and you will be healthy and strong to enjoy family and friends, the outdoors, and have plenty of fun.
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Disclaimer: If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional. No content on this site should be substituted for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare practitioner. The information contained here is for informational purposes only. It is from my research and personal experience.