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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