Each decade from the age of 30 we lose 3 to 5 per cent of the muscle mass we naturally carry, which causes us to lose muscle function. This is a condition called sarcopenia. But this doesn’t mean you necessarily end up old and frail. There have been studies on men in their 70s who had been lifting weights for 15 to 20 years and their muscles looked identical to that of a 20yo man in terms of size and strength. How amazing is that! The best part is it is never too late to get started, even if you’ve never picked up a weight in your life.
While having big muscles might hold some appeal for some of us, it’s your strength that really matters when it comes to functioning well over the age of 50 and if you’re training right, getting stronger is relatively easy, even if your body type doesn’t build muscle easily. The right kind of training for you as an over 50 depends on your fitness and health goals. The best results come from weight training when lifting weight that are 80 per cent or more of the maximum amount you can physically lift. Two, preferably three, sessions a week is ideal and the most important thing is intensity and calculated gradual progression in the amount of weigh you are lifting. If you don’t suffer with arthritis or other joint problems, gradually adding gentle high-impact movements, like jumping, improves bone density, helps to prevent osteoporosis and gives you the confidence in your ability if it is needed in every day life.
Just make sure you get out there and get moving!