Most people think that getting older means getting frail, but that’s not necessarily true. While the average person will lose more muscle mass as they get older, most of the problem occurs due to inactivity and lack of exercise. It is true that you have to put in effort to maintain muscle mass and work even harder to build it, but with effort people can be just as fit at fifty as they were at twenty. There are some well known people that prove you don’t have to lose muscle mass as you age. Actress and fitness video producer Jane Fonda looks fabulous at 80. Jack Lalane, fitness guru who said, “People don’t die of old age, they die of neglect,” looked fit well into his 90s. You don’t have to be a celebrity to be fit in your senior years. There are ordinary people doing extraordinary things every day, but only because of consistently making fitness a priority. Charles Eugster, 96 year old runner and Ernestine Shepherd, 92 year old body builder are examples.
Most people peak at their 40s, when it comes to muscle mass.
Reasons people start losing muscles occurs with changes in hormone levels, loss of nerve cells that cause muscles to move, decreased ability to convert protein to energy and lower appetite and caloric intake. You don’t have to sit and accept it…In fact, sitting is probably one of the reasons the muscle disappeared! You do have to work a bit harder for maintenance. You also have to feed your body the right nutrition, drink more water and get adequate sleep, beside working out.
It all starts with consistency.
Don’t expect to start by doing fingertip pushups if you’ve been a couch potato, no matter what your age. Start today where you are and aim for the next level of fitness. If you can only walk to the corner, walk there and aim for two steps tomorrow. If you’re unable to do a full half hour of exercise, do what you can or break it up to several 20 minute sessions throughout the day, but do it every day, every week without fail.
Put weight training on your schedule.
Running and walking is good, but it won’t stimulate the body to build muscles. Only weight training will do that. While it may be natural to lose muscle tissue, amounting to 3 to 10 percent per decade once you hit 50, you can slow that progress and even reverse it with hard work and strength training. Strength training should be on your schedule at least two to three times every week with two days between sessions for recuperation.
- Eat more protein,but spread it out throughout the day. For every pound of weight, younger people need approximately 1.8 grams of protein and seniors need about 2.6 grams to build muscle mass. Eat healthy and get good sources of protein.
- Take time to relax and get plenty of sleep. You need adequate sleep to rebuild your body and keep your motivation going.
- Schedule your workout. Make exercise part of your daily schedule. It’s as important as any doctors appointment or business meeting. It keeps you healthier and more alert so you can be more successful in business and stay out of the doctor’s office.
- If you have physical limitations or health conditions, don’t give up. Work with a personal trainer who will create a program designed specifically for your needs.