Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Strength Training Is The Number One Way To Slow Down The Aging Process

Aging starts at birth! At the age of about twenty-five you start to lose muscle mass. It's up to you to slow down that process by strength training. Strength training is the number one action on my how to slow down aging list.

Most people start losing a significant amount of muscle mass at the age of fifty. It's almost 4 times the amount you lost when you were twenty-five. There's a term for it, sarcopenia. Strength training becomes a must at this age if you want to slow down the aging process.

Muscle mass is very important for your well-being. It's active tissue so it burns calories. Muscle mass also makes you strong and independent.

You need to make a few changes when you do strength training after the age of fifty. Your joints are more prone to injury when you're older. You lose elasticity and moisture in your joints so they get injured more easily than when you were younger. Taking the amount of weight you lift down a bit is very important.

I'm not a big supporter of body building so I do not encourage my clients to lift heavy weights even when they're young. I am a big believer in moderation. When you're young a moderate amount of weight for your larger muscles for most women is between 10 to 20 pounds. As you age keeping your weights at 10 pounds for your larger muscles is what I suggest.

Older women need to eat a little more protein. You need that to help your body deal with the aging process. If you add strength training to your weekly schedule eating a little more protein is needed to help you build muscle. The average woman needs about 5 ounces of protein per day. Taking that to about 5.5 ounces is a good plan.

One thing you need to be careful about when having that little extra protein is to make sure you get your needed liquids. Protein can dehydrate you. Your body uses more fluids to digest protein than it does carbohydrates so you need to drink more fluids to avoid getting dehydrated. You can become constipated if you eat too much meat so try to vary the types of proteins you use.

When you do strength training you use glycogen for fuel. You have a limited supply of that fuel. It's important to keep your strength training sessions under an hour. That's about the amount of time it takes to use your glycogen storage. If you go past that time your body will need to find glycogen from somewhere. It generally breaks down your muscle mass to create glycogen. That defeats the time you spent building muscle.

You also want to strength train every other day. It takes about 48 hour to replace your glycogen storage and you build muscle on your rest day so you need to have a rest day.

Keeping your muscle mass is one of the most important thing to do to slow down the aging process. If you strength train every other day, keep your sessions under an hour, and use lighter weights you should be strong and able to enjoy your "golden years".

Your fitness expert


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  1. I just wanted to tell you Lynn that I finally got back to the gym yesterday. Following your advice on large muscle to small muscle. Thank you. It really helped. Some guy at the gym today asked me if I was a fitness trainer. Hah! At least I think that's what he asked me. It was in French with a Marseille accent. But I was flattered nonetheless. Thank you.

  2. Great tips - strength training is so critical for good health and mobility when we get older!

  3. visited your blog
    hope u do the same and
    enjoy reading my blog too



  4. Hey Lynn, I saw you comment on my site. Thanks for visiting =) I replied but I wasn't sure if you would be notified that I replied or not lol So if not, I just said visit Google Analytics, join, and add your blog. You should be able to follow your blogger stats that way. =)

  5. Hi Lauri! Thank you...

    I have google analytics on my website. I must not have been clear I was telling you that Blogger actually has it's own stat system now. It's on your dash board. Do you still use Blogspot? I found you on a comment list requesting stats for blogger. It must have been an old post.

  6. This is a very insightful article. Strength training is important for women as well as men. As you pointed out, muscle burns more calories than fat does so this is a very useful component of maintaining a healthy body weight. And it becomes even more important as we get older.

    But I disagree that weight training with heavy weights can be dangerous. I'm a strength trainer and I workout with heavy weights all the time. It depends on HOW you train. Performing warm up sets, moving through range of motion, and rest between sets are essential to weight training.

    I'm 5' 8" tall and weigh between 158 - 160 pounds and I deadlift almost three times my body weight, I bench press at nearly twice my body weight and I clean and press above my body weight. Some people may think this is easy because I'm a man, but that would be incorrect. I credit hard work, proper nutrition (no drugs or alcohol) and rest to my success. Gymnasts also develop powerful physiques from intense body weight exercises and a number of them become weight lifters and body builders. Some of these women are able to lift even more than guys who are recreational lifters.

    But as you pointed out, when a person ages, their joints tend to lose elasticity so they must take this into account when working out. It's always important to remember safety before vanity.

    You have a very good website. Keep up the good work.


  7. Thanks for your comment. I appreciate another view point.

    I do think weight training is different for men. Women go through hormonal changes which soften their joints at different times in their lives. Many of the female gymnasts also suffer from a lot of injuries from their sport. Body builders also have some damage done from their sport. Women's hips cause their bones to attach at a different angle to their knees too which causes problems. Women and men are different. I realize many say that's not so but after 40 years in the business I've seen a lot and believe strongly that women should exercise differently than men.

    Glad you like the website!


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