fbpx

The human body is an amazing vessel that is constantly withstanding damage and rebuilding itself. While it continues to work hard your entire life, unfortunately, like all living things, the older you get, the more certain physiological processes begin to slow or decline. When the average human hits 30, their muscle mass will start declining by 3% to 5% every decade.

You may think this is only an issue for body builders or people who are trying to build muscle. However, muscle mass serves more for your body than just being able to lift heavy things. The more muscle mass you lose, the more prone you are to breaking a bone if you fall. Many people are unaware that muscle protects bones and that building it can also build stronger bones.

Muscle is a challenging thing to build at any age, and while you can’t stop the biological barrier of aging, you can certainly still build muscle mass over 50 and even 60 years of age. In fact, the CDC recommends people of all ages to do muscle-strengthening exercises at least twice a week. Here are four helpful tips to building muscle mass if you are in your 50s or 60s, or approaching those ages.

1. Up your strength training

This may seem obvious, but it also is going to look different in your older years as your joints don’t react as kindly to heavier weights. This means most strength training exercises recommended to people over 60 will involve lighter weights (10 to 15 pounds), but more reps. So, you are able to still get strong without putting a lot of stress on your joints, ligaments, and tendons. The goal of these higher rep, lower weight workouts is not to bulk up, but to simply build muscle. Some studies have shown that strength training helps stop age-related muscle decline as long as the workouts continue, so this is where consistency is key.

2. Include proper nutrients in your diet

This is always going to be recommended for muscle building, no matter how old you are, but it’s especially necessary because your body needs all the assistance it can get. The most important nutrient you should be consuming a lot of is protein, which your muscles need to grow. Proper hydration is also vital. Vitamin D, known primarily as the sun vitamin, is another nutrient that supports muscle growth. You can consume Vitamin D by eating fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines, or eggs and mushrooms. Also, be sure to stay hydrated as you should increase the amount of water you drink as you age.

3. Don’t overdo it

 Take time to recover and get plenty of rest in between workouts. This is even more important as you age, as your body takes a lot longer to bounce back after a grueling workout. There is also a lot more risk of permanent injury if you’re overworking yourself and parts of your body can’t handle it. It’s also important to be patient. It’s going to take longer than it did when you were younger to start seeing results.

building muscle mass over 50

4. If possible, start with a professional trainer

This might not be an affordable option for everyone, but it pays off, especially if you are brand new to strength and resistance training. A personal trainer can evaluate your situation and tailor an exercise plan built just for what your body needs, which is really important in avoiding injury and building muscle efficiently. They can also keep track of your progress, and will know the right time to increase intensity. They might see you struggle with weight-training, so they can incorporate more resistance training instead. It’s also just easier to stick with an exercise plan when someone can encourage you as well as hold you accountable. They will know your physical limits and never push you to do more than you can handle.

Conclusion

When it comes to building muscle mass, the biggest obstacle many older people have to overcome in order to get started is mindset. There are definitely a lot of misconceptions about muscle loss as you age, but it’s important to know that your body can get strong and reshape itself at any time in your life. It just requires a little more effort when you’re older. You will reap the benefits of building muscle mass through proper diet and strength training, such as protection from chronic diseases, stronger bones, and overall a decreased mortality rate.

Author Dr. Rand

Dr. McClain has dedicated over 35 years of his personal and professional life studying nutrition, exercise, herbs and supplements and is also a Master of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

More posts by Dr. Rand

Leave a Reply