Starting at around your 40s, your metabolism starts to slow more and more rapidly with age. That’s because losing muscle mass is a just a natural part of aging. The more muscle mass you have of course, the faster your metabolism will be. With so many 50- and over people falling victim to heart disease and diabetes counteracting a slowing metabolism is important to help prevent weight gain and resulting illness. To build muscle mass despite the affects of aging, stick to a serious excercise plan and optimize your diet for muscle gain. Never begin any new diet or excercise regime without first consulting your doctor.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends people over 50
strength-train all major muscle groups at least two and up to four times
per week to gain muscle. Allow at least 48 hours between
strength-training workouts for full recovery. Overtraining can, and will cause
injuries and setbacks to your training plan, which can lead to muscle loss. It’s
also important not to under-train. For optimal health and fitness, you
must try and do cardio training every week as well. Aging women are at a greater
risk of osteoporosis than men and benefit from focusing on high-impact
cardio as long as the knee joints can handle the weight; putting more
weight and impact on your legs builds bone density. Again, consult a
doctor to determine how much exercise, and what specific exercise plan,
is best for you.
Do one to two exercises per muscle group in each strength-training
session. Change up the exercises from session to session. Remember to do
exercises that target your chest, shoulders, biceps, triceps, abs,
back, hips, glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves. Multi-joint exercises
work more than one muscle group at once. For example, squats, lunges and
leg presses build the glutes, quads and hamstrings all in one exercise.
Over-50 adults should typically focus on multi-joint exercises more
than exercises that isolate one muscle, since they improve stability,
balance and coordination and can help you avoid injuries when doing
other types of exercise. Other examples of multi-joint exercises are
pushups, pullups, bench presses and shoulder presses. Again, always get
clearance from your doctor first, then consult a fitness professional to
determine which exercise plan is best for you.
Weight, Reps and Sets
Choose the amount of weight you lift for each strength-training exercise based
on the amount that tires you right before or at 15 reps. Do one to
three sets of 10 to 15 reps for each exercise. If it’s your first time
doing an exercise, have a personal trainer assist you to make sure you
use the correct form and help you choose your starting weight amount.
Increase the amount of weight you use as you get stronger to avoid
muscle gain plateaus. For better safety and to make sure you use the
proper technique, choose machine weight exercises over using free
weights if you feel more confident.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, your maximum aerobic
capacity also decreases over time, which lowers your cardio fitness
level. To stay healthy, get aerobic exercise that works your entire
body, like walking, jogging, swimming, dancing and the elliptical
machine. Cardio workouts burn more calories than strength-training, so
do more more cardio if you need to lose weight. The more active you are,
the better. Find activities like gardening, walking the dog or taking a
fitness class that you enjoy doing to help you squeeze in more aerobic