As you get older, your muscle mass naturally decreases, but this doesn’t mean it’s not too late to start rebuilding your aging muscles.
In addition to a good diet and the right lifestyle changes, to effectively build muscle the elderly and seniors need to do regular, strength building exercises.
Depending on your body type and your current level of fitness will determine how quickly you start to see results.
Can a 70-year old plus elderly man build muscle ?
As you get older, your muscle mass naturally decreases, but It’s not too late to start building your aging muscles from the age of 65. Muscle loss and reduced strength can be slowed considerably simply by changing your fitness plan and level of activity. To effectively build muscle, you’ll need to do regular, challenging resistance type strength-building exercises with either resistance bands or weights.
Why do your muscles decrease as you get older ?
Unfortunately, starting as early as age 30, we all begin to lose muscle mass and strength gradually at the rate of around 3 – 5% for those who are most inactive.
For many poor diets with insufficient protein each day to sustain their existing muscle mass means muscle wastage. Also, some don’t eat enough calories during the day.
When we age our ability to turn protein into energy decreases. In addition, our bodies have lower concentrations of certain hormones, including testosterone, growth hormone and insulin.
Also, the nerve cells as we age, responsible for sending signals from our brains to muscles to start the movement are reduced.
Naturally, as we age everyone’s muscles begin to shrink and lose mass. Also, the size and number of muscle fibres decreases.
Ways to build muscle mass into your 70s
1) Good nutritious diet
To build muscle as you get older you need to make sure you’re getting the nutrients your body needs.
Animal-based foods like meat, fish, dairy, and eggs are some of the highest quality foods for protein.
However, plant-based foods such as beans, nuts, and soy can also provide a significant source of protein as well as providing many other health benefits for you.
Recommendations for how much protein is enough for older people vary, but current studies suggest that most people over age 65 should take in about 1 g to 1.2 g of protein/kg of body weight per day to both gain and maintain muscle mass and function (around 15 – 20% of your daily calories come from proteins).
Make sure you are getting enough carbohydrates which our body needs to create energy. If you don’t get enough it will reduce your chances of building muscle mass.
A good diet should also include plenty of water which your body needs to function (for an average adult male about 60% of their body is made of water).
2) Cardiovascular and strength training
If you are trying to build muscle mass then cardiovascular training is very important for the elderly and seniors. It strengthens your lungs and heart, help manage your weight, and gives you more energy.
Strength training is the best way for the elderly and seniors to grow muscle.
Ideally start off with lighter weights or resistance bands with low repetitions, and then build up slowly.
If you do resistance strength training regularly ( x3 / week ) you will not only build muscle mass and strength, but preserve your bone density.
Benefits of muscle growth for the elderly
- Reduces those aches and pains associated with arthritis
- Increased muscle means stronger more stable joints (knees, hips, shoulders for example)
- Better balance and co-ordination
- Reduced risk of falls occuring
- Look and feel better
- Increased confidence
- Reduced symptoms of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis
- Lessen the chance of frailty and disability
- Lessen signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes and heart disease
- Improve your sleep pattern
- Reduce risk of depression
it’s never too late to start rebuilding your aging muscles when you are 70, 75 years old or even older.
Regular resistance strength exercises along with a good diet and lifestyle changes can make all the difference for the elderly and seniors.
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