How Masters Athletes Over 50 Gain Muscle Mass
Are you over 50 and as strong as you were in your twenties? If you are, that means that you keep control of your weight and your muscle tone, and not the other way
around. You have won the battle over changes in your lifestyle, metabolism and diet.
If you have lived a sedentary life so far, though, you might have noticed that your muscles have started to decrease already a while ago. And less muscle means less strength. Nobody is willing to recognize that they’re getting weaker as time goes by. However, the fact is that, as we age, we start to lose muscle, and that can sum up to 0.4 pounds per year if you are beyond age 50. That means that just in your fifties you can lose up to 4 pounds of muscle.
Nevertheless, this whole process can be reversed if you start engaging in progressive resistance exercises throughout your life, as stated in a recent study published by the University of Michigan. The earlier you start, the better, but studies have shown that the process can be reversed even in the eighth and ninth decades of your life.
Progressive resistance training means that the amount of weight used, and the frequency and duration of training sessions are altered over time to accommodate an individual’s improvements in strength and in muscle mass.
A recommended way for men over 50 to start engaging in resistance exercises is to use their body mass as a load. This type of training includes squats, standing up out of a chair, modified push-ups, lying hip bridges, as well as exercises that progress through a full range of motion, such as Tai Chi, Pilates and Yoga. You can complement this by engaging in other endurance activities that burn calories and help weight loss, such as swimming, biking and running.
Even if you are engaged already in these activities, it might be a good idea to consider to start going to the gym under the supervision of a qualified trainer. You can then introduce other types of exercises that will empower your muscle gains, such as weights, machines and other types of full body exercises.
And a trainer can help you to add progressively heavier weight as you develop your base strength. Adding more weight over time increases muscle size, muscle density, muscle strength, and bone density. Not only can you reverse the effects of aging on your musculature system, you can even have the very best muscle tone of your life, even after age 50!
As a result, your muscle mass will increase and so will your strength, and you will likely lose weight in the form of body fat. After just five months of progressive resistance training, as cited by the Michigan study, an adult can add 2.42 pounds of lean muscle to their body mass and increase their overall strength by 25-30 percent. Start today and live up to your fullest potential!
Mark D. Peterson, Paul M. Gordon. Resistance Exercise for the Aging Adult: Clinical Implications and Prescription Guidelines. The American Journal of Medicine, 2011; 124 (3): 194 DOI: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2010.08.020