You may notice many older people have less muscle mass. That’s because of sarcopenia, which is muscle loss due to aging and related to a reduction in hormones. You can slow the process and even reverse it in some cases and many of my senior members at Next Level Fitness in Irvine, CA, prove it all the time. At one time, it was just accepted that you had to get older and more feeble as you age, but not today. While you can’t completely stop aging, you can slow and even reverse muscle loss with exercise and a healthy diet.
Even if you’ve never exercised, it’s not too late.
You might not be able to go to the gym and lift your own weight, half your weight or even ten pounds and running further than to the end of the driveway may be challenging, but that doesn’t mean you can’t change that. Each person is different, so you need a program of exercise that is created for your needs and level of fitness. You can start out slowly, like walking a little more and a little faster every day and lifting 5-pound weights twice a week, then build to heavier amounts and more reps as you improve.
Exercising regularly has more than just benefits for the muscles.
You’ll be protecting your body at the cellular level when you workout. Exercise causes the length of the telomeres to increase. Telomeres are at the end of chromosomes and protest them from damage, which protects your cells and allows longer replication with less damage. The more you exercise, the longer they are. Exercise increases circulation which helps your skin, heart and even ability to breathe better. A program of regular exercise literally keeps all cells in the body healthier and prevents muscle wasting.
Your diet plays a big role in the loss or gain of muscle mass.
If you don’t have all the building materials, you can’t build a house. The same is true of building your muscles. You need protein and other nutrients to do that. Seniors, particularly me, often develop anabolic resistance. That impedes the body’s ability to synthesize protein. Getting older means eating more protein. Consuming more lean poultry, fatty fish like salmon, plain yogurt and plant protein like beans is a healthier way to achieve that. For seniors, adding protein powder to smoothies is also an option.
- Don’t compare your progress to anyone, even your younger self. You’ll see slower progress than you might have twenty to thirty years prior, especially if you’re a senior.
- Always check with your health care professional first to see if working out is safe for you. Also let your personal trainer know if you have medical issues, so he or she can adjust the workout.
- Make sure your program is varied. You need flexibility, endurance, balance and strength training. That ensures you a much safer exercise program and a healthier body.
- Try HIIT—High-intensity interval training. It can get you back into shape faster and only requires you alternate intensity. Any exercise can be used. Just do it at a high intensity level and drop down to a moderate recovery level for the same amount of time or longer, then back up to high intensity.
For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness