As we get older it becomes important to actively maintain muscle mass, as it will naturally decrease with age if we do not.
There are a number of reasons why we lose muscle mass as we age. Some of the most common reasons include:
- Hormonal changes. As we age, our levels of testosterone and growth hormone decline. These hormones are important for muscle growth and maintenance.
- Decreased physical activity. As we get older, we tend to be less active than we were when we were younger. This can lead to a loss of muscle mass.
- Inflammation. Chronic inflammation can damage muscle tissue and lead to a loss of muscle mass.
- Poor diet. A diet that is low in protein and nutrients can also contribute to a loss of muscle mass.
This can lead to a number of health problems, including:
- Weakness and fatigue
- Increased risk of falls and injuries
- Poorer balance and coordination
- Decreased bone density
Increased risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes
There are a number of things that we can do to slow or prevent the loss of muscle mass as we age. Some of the most important things include:
- Stay active. Staying active is important for overall health and well-being. It can also help to prevent the loss of muscle mass. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.
Strength Training to Maintain Muscle Mass
Strength training with weights can help to slow or even reverse the loss of muscle mass that occurs with age. It can also improve strength, balance, and coordination, and reduce the risk of falls and injuries.
How Much Weight Should You Use?
When you first start strength training, it is important to start with light weights and gradually increase the weight as you get stronger. You should use a weight that is challenging but that you can still lift with good form. If you are not sure how much weight to use, ask a personal trainer or fitness instructor for help.
How Often Should You Strength Train?
It is recommended that adults strength train at least twice a week. You can do strength training on consecutive days, or you can spread it out over the week. If you are new to strength training, start with two workouts per week and gradually increase the number of workouts as you get stronger.
What Kinds of Exercises Should You Do?
There are many different exercises that you can do to strength train. Some of the most common exercises include:
You can do these exercises with free weights, machines, or resistance bands. If you are new to strength training, it is a good idea to start with bodyweight exercises and then gradually add weights as you get stronger.
If you are looking for a way to improve your health and well-being, strength training is a great option. It is a safe and effective way to build muscle, improve strength, and reduce your risk of chronic diseases.
Tips for Getting Started with Strength Training
If you are new to strength training, here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Start with bodyweight exercises. These are exercises that do not require any equipment, such as squats, lunges, push-ups, and sit-ups.
- Gradually add weights. As you get stronger, you can add weights to your bodyweight exercises.
- Work with a personal trainer or fitness instructor. If you are new to strength training, it is a good idea to work with a personal trainer or fitness instructor who can help you develop a safe and effective workout routine and check that your form is good.
- Listen to your body. If you experience any pain, stop the exercise and consult with a doctor or physiotherapist.
Taking steps to maintain muscle mass will save you from pain and stiffness as you get older, and will also make you feel good.
Rachel Law is a personal fitness trainer based in New Malden, Surrey. Qualifications: ActivIQ Level 3 Personal Training; Burrell Education Pregnancy Exercise Prescription; Burrell Education Advanced Pregnancy Wellness Practitioner; Burrell Education Advanced Post Natal Exercise Prescription; Burrell Education 3rd Age Women Optimal Health and Nutrition; Burrell Education Peri Natal Athlete; Burrell Education Pelvic Flow and Freedom; Olympic Weight Lifting; Premier Global Kettlebells; FIE Level Assessment and Mentoring