Can You Still Build Muscle As You Age?
The answer is absolutely yes. A study actually revealed that this can be done in as little as 40 minutes of strength training twice per week. The rate of muscle gain was the same for young adults, middle-aged adults, and older adults.
Research shows that physical activity can help stave off sarcopenia, similar to the impact of exercise on osteoporosis. Muscle loss can lead to frailty, which can cause falls or fractures.
Frailty is often characterized by nutritional deficiencies, loss of balance and gait, and cognitive impairment. All of this means, that regular workouts play a huge role in maintaining overall good health, stability, and bone density into old age. And that muscle wasting is preventable.
We lose, on average, ten pounds of lean muscle mass for every decade of adult life.
It is 100% possible to regain or to build muscle mass at age 50 or older. To build muscle mass, there should be a major focus on nutrition and diet. Ensuring that you’re consuming the proper amount of protein, which is critical to muscle development.
How can you build muscle mass as you age?
Even though building muscle mass might be harder as you age, it’s not impossible. With the help of Strength training, ideally lifting weights, you should focus on the major multi-joint movements. These include; squats, deadlifts, rows, chest presses, core work, and overhead press. It’s fine to add in single-joint moves like bicep curls, triceps, hip abduction/adduction, and tiptoes. But the big multi-joint moves should form the foundation of your strength work.
A 20-something body will build muscle mass with lots of sets performed at medium-high intensity, with four to seven days rest in between body part workouts. A 50+ body will generally do better with fewer sets performed every other day.
The fact is that weight-bearing exercises (walking, running, hiking, dancing, and jumping), as well as resistance training (free weights, weight machines, and resistance bands), have been shown to positively impact muscle and bone health in the elderly.
For seniors, you don’t necessarily have to lift really heavy weights. However, to gain muscle mass, you do have to lift until fatigue or failure. This means breaking away from the traditional three sets of ten reps. Instead, think more about doing enough repetitions to get your muscles pretty tired, where you actually need to take a break before being able to do more.