Old and frail – it doesn’t have to be. Even in old age you can feel fit, healthy and sporty. How can you do that? With moderate workout and the right diet. In this way you counteract muscle breakdown and stay flexible into old age.
Yes! Even at 50, 60, 70, 80 or 90 – it pays to start exercising at any year of life. Of course, the training should be adapted to the individual age and flexibility. If you have a few years under your belt, you may not break any more world records. Even so, you can still build muscle mass through exercise.
It is common knowledge that we lose a large part of our muscle mass well into old age. The reason for this has not yet been scientifically proven. What is certain, however, is that the number of muscle fibers is decreasing and is being replaced by fat and connective tissue.
One reason for this may be that the older we get, the less exercise we do. As a result, our muscles are less stressed and break down. In addition, our metabolism slows down. Food is therefore metabolized more slowly and sets in more quickly. Usually older people then try to eat less so that they do not gain weight as quickly.
But that is only of limited use. Instead of just eating less, it is far more important to eat healthy and protein-rich. In addition, regular exercise and sport should be integrated into everyday life.
Why are muscles important for elderly?
Just like with our organs, eyes or teeth, the functionality of the muscle cells deteriorates with age. This process can be accelerated by an unhealthy lifestyle. If you want to rest on your lazy skin and think you don’t need a six-pack anymore, you’re only partially right. Because well-developed muscles also have their advantages in old age. Some of them are:
Support in everyday life
In everyday life we use our muscles with every movement in our body. The muscles mainly relieve our heart. For example, when we walk up stairs, strong leg muscles help us do this. Logical – the trained leg muscles make it easier for us to climb the stairs. Once at the top we are less exhausted and our heart does not race as fast.
Well-trained muscles should not be underestimated, especially for people who have difficulties with their weight in old age. Our muscles are metabolically active tissue. They burn calories even when they are resting and thus help us to regulate our weight. Building muscle is also beneficial for people who need to gain weight. Because muscle mass weighs more than fat.
Protection of the joints and bones
Our muscles surround our bones and support our joints. In the event of a fall, for example, strong muscles serve as a buffer and can thus reduce the risk of injury. Strong leg muscles also support our joints. In this way, the leg muscles protect our ankle and knee joints during a long walk or shopping.
Prevention of old age diseases
Training the muscles can also prevent various diseases of old age. Sarcopenia, known as muscle wasting, can be improved with weight training. Regular exercise also prevents cardiovascular diseases, as exercise promotes the transport of oxygen in the blood. Regular exercise can also reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
If you don’t move around, you accelerate the aging process of the body. Our muscles help us to stand and sit upright, to pick up things from the floor or to bend over pain-free. Joint and back pain are not uncommon for older people. Strong muscles counteract this and thereby significantly increases the quality of life.
Of course, the visual effect is also a big plus. We cannot work out all of our wrinkles by building muscle. Nevertheless, the muscle growth ensures a firmer complexion. Particularly in the problem areas such as the buttocks, stomach and upper arms, specific exercises can make a big difference.
What to do against muscular dystrophy
Two essential pillars of physical fitness are diet and exercise. Both can help prevent muscle breakdown in old age.
While we were often able to eat what we wanted as young hops without gaining weight, it usually looks a little different with age. We often have the feeling that the older we get, the faster various delicacies land on our hips. The reason for this is that our metabolism slows down.
However, this is no reason to forego everything. Rather, it is important to eat the right foods. A healthy and balanced diet should always be the basis. Avoid unnecessary fats and added sugar as much as possible, and make sure you get enough protein. The recommended daily amount for adults under 65 years of age is around 0.8 g protein per kg body weight. From the age of 65, an estimate of around 1.0 g per kg of body weight. The final protein requirement depends, among other things, on the amount of exercise and body size as well as gender.
Suitable protein-rich foods are, for example:
- lean meat and fish
- Legumes, such as chickpeas, beans, peas
- lowfat quark
- cottage cheese
- low-fat cheese, such as Harz cheese or Edam cheese
Don’t forget to drink too! You should drink at least 1 to 2 liters a day. This can be water, but also unsweetened tea or juice spritzers.
The right workout
In addition to a healthy diet, exercise should also not be neglected. In principle, you can practice any sport that you enjoy. In any case, adapt the training to your health. If you have joint problems or other mobility restrictions, health-oriented strength training is advisable. Ideally, contact a trainer and have a personalized training plan created for you.
But regardless of whether it’s strength training, a bike ride or a walk – exercise increases our well-being. It has even been scientifically proven. Because whenever we do physical activity, our body releases endorphinsine. These happiness hormones put you in a good mood and make us feel good after training.
Is strength training dangerous after 50?
No. Because strength training is a simple and at the same time very effective method to build muscle mass in old age. Think you are too old to start weight training? It’s never too late for exercise! Physical fitness is also feasible in old age and, above all, important! In health-oriented strength training, the focus is on gently building muscles and increasing mobility. Many gyms also offer special courses for building muscle in old age.
For health-oriented strength training, the intensity should be around 40 to 60 percent of maximum performance. So make sure that you don’t overwhelm yourself. If you are motivated but unsure, just let a doctor check you out and advise you. They can tell you exactly what to look out for during training and which exercises would do you good.
In almost every gym you also have the option of getting the help of a trainer. He will be happy to create a training plan for you, look at your implementation and can specifically address your individual problems.
Can you still build muscle after 60?
No matter what year of life you are – muscle building is almost always possible. The prerequisite is training that is adapted to your health, regularity and the right diet. When it comes to strength training, for example, you should focus on health-oriented full-body training. Sufficient proteins are also necessary for building muscle in old age.
Summary: How To Build Muscle After 50
- Building muscle in old age is not only feasible, it is also recommended. Our muscles protect our joints and bones and relieve our heart.
- Depending on your health, you can do any sport to build muscle. Health-oriented strength training is still possible even in old age. This is a workout with low intensities. Nevertheless, you can increase your fitness and strength.
- Also, make sure you have a healthy, protein-rich diet. Lean meat, fish, legumes and lean dairy products are suitable sources of protein for building muscle in old age.