Between the ages of 20 and 50
most healthy adults have a fixed amount of muscle mass. At around the age of
50, it begins to diminish. At the age of 80, sedentary people have only
about 60 percent of their muscular strength that they had as a younger
adult. In fact many of our elderly have trouble picking up 5 pounds much
less getting out of chairs or off and on the toilet.
While nothing can completely
stop age-related loss of muscle, weight lifting comes close. People who use
resistance training in their 50's, 60's and 70's have more muscle mass than
people the same age who don't. There is no reason that a 60 or 70 year old
can not be as muscularly fit as a 30 year old. Weight training also has been
shown to slow loss of bone mass.
It is never too late to start
a weight program. Here are some tips:
Get the advise of a personal
trainer if possible to help you set up a program for you and monitor your
Weight train 2 to 3 days a
week (rest a day or two between workouts). If you want you can still workout
daily, just focus on different muscle groups.
Start slowly, as your body
gets stronger and used to this sort of activity, add weight slowly.
Consider using free weights
as well as machines. Both strengthen muscles, but free weights can improve
balance which tends to worsen with age.
Understand that the
expectation in not for bulging muscles but for improved strength and
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