Muscle Loss After 60 Years Old
In the world there are many different types of people. Some have a lot of money while others live very poor lives. There are also some people who do not get any benefit from their life time experience. These people might become old and they will lose muscle mass due to various reasons. Let’s take a look at the following:
Ageing Muscle Mass: What Is It?
The term “muscle mass” refers to the total amount of connective tissue (fibers) within your body. When you reach age 60 years, your muscle mass decreases because of several factors. Your body loses water which makes it difficult for your muscles to contract properly. You also lose bone density which causes osteoporosis. Other than these two major factors, other health problems such as diabetes, high cholesterol levels or smoking increase the risk of losing muscle mass.
How Does Ageing Affect Muscle Mass?
When you reach age 60 years, your body has lost muscle mass due to various reasons. Water loss is one of them. At that age, your body starts losing water because of stress related to living conditions like diet and exercise habits. Another reason is hormonal changes caused by pregnancy and menopause. Finally, you may lose bone density due to disease like osteoporosis or cancer.
What Happens If You Don’t Do Anything?
When you lose muscle mass, your body becomes weak and it is at risk of falling. This increases the risk of having a bone fracture because of the loss of bone density. Physical activity should be encouraged in elderly people to retain bone strength as well as muscular strength. If you don’t do anything, you will be at higher risk of losing balance which could increase the risk of falling.
Strength Training For Elderly People
Elderly people can gain muscle mass and bone strength by doing resistance exercise. There are many types of resistance exercises like weight lifting which increases the amount of tension on your muscles. Other types are elastic bands or machines that can be used to perform the same action. In your later years, you can still gain strength because the demand of new muscle is always present.
Gain Muscle Mass After 60?
Gaining muscle mass after 60 years old is possible if you: perform regular and intensive strength training, eat nutrients dense in proteins (to build muscles) and grow new muscle fibers. If you can follow the steps above, it is possible to gain muscle mass after age 60.
Reversing Sarcopenia With Resistance Training
Older people tend to lose more muscle mass than other types of people. This is called sarcopenia. Sarcopenia can cause many diseases and conditions like loss of bone density, joint pain and a poor quality of life. In order to reverse sarcopenia, you need to do strength training every week.
Can Elderly People Get Ripped?
Elderly people can get ripped with sufficient resistance training. The process of getting ripped is losing fat while gaining muscle mass. You can get ripped even after 60 years old but you will need to perform resistance training on a regular basis. Getting ripped can increase your confidence as well as your energy levels.
The Truth About Muscle Mass After 60
Myth 1: You lose muscle mass when you reach age 60.
Reality: It is difficult to maintain muscle mass after age 50 but it is not impossible. It is possible to gain muscle mass after 60 years old by doing strength training. You can even gain muscle mass after 70 years old as long as you stick with a strength training routine.
Myth 2: Elderly people need to avoid strength training at all costs.
Reality: Strength training is one of the most important things you can do in your life even if you reach 60 or 70 years old. If anything, strength training is even more important as you age because it can help you prevent diseases like osteoporosis or joint pain.
Myth 3: Elderly people should avoid high weights and stick to low weights at the gym.
Reality: High weights are not necessarily bad for elderly people as long as you don’t strain yourself. Most elderly people don’t have the strength to lift heavy weights so it is better for them to start with lower weights and slowly increase as they get stronger.
Myth 4: Elderly people should avoid any and all types of strength training.
Reality: Strength training is very important for your muscles and bones as you age. If anything, you should avoid doing endurance exercises because they can actually cause your body to lose bone and muscle mass.
The best type of workout for elderly people is strength training because it helps you maintain or even gain muscle mass while also preventing osteoporosis and joint pain.
Myth 5: Elderly people cannot gain muscle mass.
Reality: You can still gain muscle mass when you reach 60 or even 70 years old if you perform strength training. The key is to work out on a regular basis and use weights that are suitable for your body. Start off with lower weights and add more as you get stronger.
Myth 6: Elderly people should not exercise at high intensities.
Reality: High intensity exercises are not necessarily bad for elderly people as long as the exercises are suitable for your abilities. Running for extended periods of time or doing plyometric exercises may be too taxing on the heart so it is better to start off with low-intensity exercises and build up from there.
Myth 7: Elderly people should only do cardiovascular exercises.
Reality: Strength training is just as, if not more, important than doing cardiovascular exercises because it can help prevent osteoporosis and joint pain. You should do both strength training and cardiovascular exercises on a regular basis.
Myth 8: Elderly people cannot get “ripped.”
Reality: As long as you are performing high-intensity strength training while avoiding endurance exercises, you can get “ripped” in your old age. Getting “ripped” may be more difficult for elderly people, but it is certainly possible if you put in the work.
Myth 9: Elderly people cannot build muscle.
Reality: Contrary to popular belief, elderly people can actually build muscle if they perform high-intensity strength training on a regular basis. Diet is important as always; you should eat enough protein and the right amount of calories.
Myth 10: Elderly people don’t have as much energy as they used to.
Reality: While it is true that as you age you don’t have as much energy, you shouldn’t use this as an excuse not to exercise. Even if you cannot do the things you want to do, you can still maintain a healthy lifestyle by performing low-intensity exercises. Even walking on a daily basis or doing light housework can be good for your health.
Myth 11: Elderly people should avoid all types of pain as it is a sign of injury.
Reality: While pain is a sign that something is wrong, a certain amount of pain is necessary to force your muscles to adapt to the stress being placed on them. If you don’t feel pain in your muscles while lifting weights then you are not pushing yourself hard enough to see any gains in strength.
Myth 12: Elderly people should avoid certain exercises such as squats, deadlifts, bench press, etc.
Reality: While you should avoid overdoing it and getting hurt, you should not be afraid of performing any exercise. As long as you maintain proper form and keep the weightlifting sessions to a reasonable time limit then you should not be afraid of any exercises. Just because some are not suitable for younger people, does not mean they are forbidden to older people as well.
Myth 13: If you start skipping workouts in your old age, it is impossible to get back into working out on a regular basis.
Reality: While it may be difficult to get back into working out if you miss a day here and there, it should not be impossible to get back into the swing of things. Start off slow by doing some light exercise and work your way up to more intense stuff.
Myth 14: You can get “too old” to work out.
Reality: While it is certainly true that some elderly people may not be as able-bodied as others, there really is no specific age where working out becomes impossible. As long as you are still living, then you can work out. It is all about how well your body is able to handle the stress you place on it.
Myth 15: You just have to accept the fact that you are going to age and your body is not going to be as strong as it used to be.
Reality: While it may be true that your body will not be as strong as it was in the past, that does not mean you cannot maintain a certain level of fitness. As long as you do not abuse your body (and you should avoid doing that at all times), then you may be able to continue living without experiencing many issues related to old age.
The popular beliefs regarding elderly people and working out are quite common. Many people tend to think that once you are at a certain age, working out will no longer provide many benefits. This is a myth of course since if you think about it, people are constantly growing older and/or dying. If this is the case then they are not truly “growing old” as the saying goes, but rather permanently stuck at a certain age.
The people who grow “old” and “die” are the ones who stop taking care of themselves. If you want to stay fit and live a long and healthy life, then you need to make that a priority in your life. Being lazy is what causes people to become unhealthy and gain weight which can ultimately lead to all sorts of health problems later on in life.
In reality, working out is something that should never really stop unless you physically can no longer do it. Some elderly people still work out on a regular basis and enjoy the benefits of keeping their bodies healthy. For others, they start to slow down and stop maintaining their health which ultimately ends up leading to them experiencing health problems.
The choice is ultimately up to you.
All the myths and truths discussed above will hopefully provide you with some food for thought on this matter. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what you would like to do in the latter part of your life.
Will you let yourself become a slave to your chair and the constant flow of unhealthy snacks that come with it? Or will you take control of your life by maintaining a healthy lifestyle?
It is all up to you.
Simply put, working out should become a permanent fixture in your life if you truly want to live a long and healthy life. It’s not an option. It’s not something you should do if you have the time. It’s something you need to do no matter what your situation is. In addition, you need to eat right and get enough rest on a regular basis as well.
Of course I would be remiss to discuss exercise without first mentioning the importance of balance. While exercise is very important, you also need to make sure that you are giving your body rest so that it has a chance to heal itself from the wear and tear that exercising causes your body. Never forget this fact, and never overdo it either. Everything must be in balance.
Well I hope that the information in this article will give you something to think about and aid you on your way to a healthier life.
Good luck and may you live a happy and long life.
This article written by George Betts. © 1999
Part of the Main About Beards site.
Last updated 21st June 1999.
Next update Unknown.
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Biomechanical simulations of forward fall arrests: effects of upper extremity arrest strategy, gender and aging-related declines in muscle strength by KM DeGoede, JA Ashton-Miller – Journal of biomechanics, 2003 – Elsevier
Effect of nutritional interventions and resistance exercise on aging muscle mass and strength by DG Candow, SC Forbes, JP Little, SM Cornish… – Biogerontology, 2012 – Springer
Race and sex effects on the association between muscle strength, soft tissue, and bone mineral density in healthy elders: the Health, Aging, and Body Composition … by DR Taaffe, JA Cauley, M Danielson… – Journal of Bone and …, 2001 – Wiley Online Library