Gaining Muscle is a vital part of a fitness program for men as we age. A program of muscle and fitness is even more important as we grow older than it was when we were young bucks. There are MANY BENEFITS OF GAINING MUSCLE as we age. If you wish to pursue fitness you must include resistance training for muscle growth and strength.
Benefits of Developing Muscle and Fitness
- Feel better
- Improves bone density
- Increased metabolic rate (you burn more calories even when at rest)
- Better cardiovascular health (less likely to suffer from heart disease)
- Improves tendons and ligaments
- Improves sense of well being, confidence and mood
- Improves flexibility and balance
- Enables activities that other aging men can’t do because they lack the strength and flexibility
- Improves brain function
- Strengthens immune system
- Reduces likelihood of diseases associated with aging such as obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer’s
- Better quality of life
So, imagine someone offers to magically endow you with the list of benefits above in your 60s and beyond. Are there any of those benefits to which you would say, “Nah. I don’t want that. I’m good.”?
Reasons for Muscle Loss as we Age
It is estimated that for each decade after 30 years old, we lose 3 – 5% of muscle. There are things that can contribute to and even accelerate that loss:
- Aging – As I mentioned above 3 – 5% muscle loss every 10 year
- Sarcopenia – It is a syndrome characterized by progressive and generalized loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength with a risk of adverse outcomes such as physical disability, poor quality of life and death. The onset of the syndrome is primarily among the elderly, older than 65 years of age.
- Inflammation – It is what happens in the body in response to injury, infections or toxins. When those things occur in the body, the immune system triggers a response to heal the malady. As the healing takes place the inflammation diminishes.
- Chronic inflammation increases as we age. It may be caused by obesity, unhealthy diet, smoking, excessive alcohol, excessive stress or other types of toxins. It causes aches and pains in joints and other parts of the body. Additionally, chronic inflammation can lead to the onset of various diseases such as diabetes, obesity, arthritis, heart disease and asthma.
- Couch Potato Lifestyle – If one wishes to gain, rather than lose muscle they will have to avoid a sedentary lifestyle. It requires activity and resistance training.
- Inadequate nutrition due to poor diet
- Extreme Stress
Never Too Late
The March 13, 2020, publication of Men’s Health includes an article titled, “You can Still Build New Muscle in Your 60s and 70s, Says Science.”
The article sights a study published in “Frontiers in Physiology”. The study compared the muscle building ability in two groups of men in their 70s and 80s.
One group was referred to as “master athletes”. They were life-long exercisers. The other group was made up of men who had never exercised seriously.
The scientists thought the “master athletes” would have a greater capacity for building new muscle. They were wrong.
The study proved that the men who had never exercised with any seriousness “had an equal capacity to make gains, proving that it really is never too late to feel great. You just need to train smart.”
Strength Training Seniors
OK. Have you decided to begin, or further, a journey into fitness which will include resistance training? Whether you have resolved to become part of a growing number of strength training seniors, or whether you are still in the “thinking about it” stage, I’ll share some important steps to take to help your journey be successful in every way. Don’t just go down to your local health club and start using some various exercise equipment. You’ll likely fail two ways: quickly and permanently.
There are 3 key pillars, if you will, to getting the most progress toward becoming wonderfully fit, feeling and looking great.
- Fitness Goals
- Meal plans & Supplements
- Workout Plan
If you don’t have these 3 you won’t come close to achieving what you’re capable of. For every hour of time you invest, you will get a much greater return on your investment. I’ll show you and provide the guidance to make getting the 3 pillars in place, much easier than you might think.
For additional insights check out this article by clicking on the following link: Exercise for Older Adults.
What is it you want to aim for? You will achieve WAY more if you have some measurable goals. Following are some examples:
- Your body’s percentage of muscle
- Your body’s percentage of fat
- Goals for lifting specific amounts of weight
- # of pounds for bench press
- # of pounds for dead lift
- # of pounds for leg press
- Pounds of total body weight
- (Be careful with this one. Muscle weighs more than fat. So, when you weigh yourself on the scale, you may not think you’re losing the weight you were hoping to. If you’ve lost fat and gained muscle your total body weight may not reflect your advances in fitness.)
- Waist size
- Able to fit into certain clothes you can’t wear anymore
Goals must be written down and charted regularly. There are apps today you can download on your phone that make this super easy, even fun. I use “BodyFit” from bodybuilding. com. You can click the following link if you’d like to check it out and take advantage of a free trial: BODYBUILDING.COM
This effort is rewarding and it is a necessary part of a successful fitness program.
Meal Plan and Supplements Made Simple
There are several ways to go with this, determined by your personal needs and preferences.
What’s important to know, that being truly successful in reaching your fitness goals is you need a structured plan. Do you know the saying, “If you fail to plan you plan to fail”? That’s how it is with the 3 key pillars of a fitness plan.
What I do to make this as simple as I can for myself is, go to the website that is the internet’s go-to resource for all things fitness. They have countless meal plans, meticulously developed to help you reach your fitness goals. Find the plan that’s best for you and follow it. They even provide shopping lists and anything else to help make it as simple and do-able as possible. I pay $3.99 per month for upgraded access to most things on the site. I get the very best of everything I need to help me reach my fitness goals. All the major brand supplements with a guaranteed price match. The site is bodybuilding.com. If you click on the following link it will take you to the correct page: BODYBUILDING.COM
Affiliate disclosure: Any/all of the links on www.fitness-for-men-over-60.com are affiliate links of which I receive a small compensation from sales of certain items which means that I may earn a commission if you click on the link or make a purchase using the link. Prices are exactly the same for you if your purchase is through an affiliate link or a non-affiliate link. You will not pay more by clicking through to the link.
BODYBUILDING.COM is also where I get workout plans. There are countless plans, categorized to help you meet your fitness goals. The following link will take you to the right page to find out more:
In a recent post I explained the kinds of workout equipment that would be both effective and safe for seniors. You can see that by clicking on this link: Exercise Equipment for Seniors. Some equipment can be used at home. It takes up very little room, is portable, safe and effective. The other equipment will be found in your local gym or health club.
The topic for this article has been the incorporation of resistance training. Muscle and Fitness go together like peanut butter and jelly. If you have one without the other, it’s good but not nearly as good as having them together.
In a future post, I’ll address the importance of cardio. To look at workout plans on bodybuilding.com just click on this icon below:
I recommend you look for a plan that has one of the following approaches:
- Weights 3 days per week/Cardio 3 days per week
- Weights 4 days per week/Cardio 2 days per week
- Set goal(s)
- Have a plan for meals and supplements
- Have a structured workout plan that can work with your weekly schedule.
Please share any comments or questions in the Comments section below. If you have questions I’ll do my best to get back to you within 24 hours..