Growing older doesn’t mean you have to gain weight and lose your strength. In fact, building muscle as a senior citizen can be both rewarding and beneficial for your health. Having strong muscles as we grow older is more important than many people realize. Strong muscles help protect our bones. This can lower the chances of breaks and fractures.
It’s a myth that age prevents people from building muscle. But it’s never too late to work towards a stronger, healthier you. In this article, we will go over several tips to help you gain muscle mass even when you’re older.
1 – Build up gradually
When you are just starting out, you will need to keep a couple of things in mind. The first is that you need to define what your target goal is based on your current fitness level. Go to your doctor and see if you are healthy enough to start a new fitness routine and to measure your BMI (Body Mass Index). Your BMI differs from body composition so it’s important to understand what muscle mass you already have.
The second thing is to take things slowly at first and gradually build up your muscle building routine. Your body, especially as a senior, may need some time to adjust to a new workout routine. Taking things slow will give your muscles a chance to build strength without risking injury.
Always listen to your body. If something feels off or painful in the wrong way, it’s essential to take a step back and adjust. Pain can be a sign that something isn’t right, and pushing through might do more harm than good.
2 – Focus on strength training
If your goal is to build muscle mass, then strength training should be at the top of your list. Strength training is all about using resistance to push your muscles to work harder. This resistance can come from your body weight or free weights like dumbbells.
The main goal is to improve muscle strength, endurance, and size. On the other hand, cardiovascular workouts focus on your heart and lungs. Activities like running, swimming, or cycling are examples. These exercises increase your heart rate and improve the flow of oxygen throughout your body. While they’re excellent for heart health and burning calories, they don’t target muscle growth in the same way strength training does.
3 – Incorporate flexibility
Stretching has a direct impact on muscle growth and can prevent injuries. When you stretch you’re loosening up your muscles and improving blood circulation to those areas. This increased blood flow helps in delivering nutrients to the muscles which helps them grow.
For seniors looking for more flexibility and mobility, yoga is a fantastic option. Yoga combines strength, balance, and flexibility exercises in one. It offers various poses and stretches that not only improve muscle tone but also enhance joint health and overall mobility. Plus, many yoga styles are gentle and can be modified to fit different fitness levels, making it an ideal choice for seniors.