muscle buulding for seniors

Muscle Building For All Ages: Tips For Seniors

Written By : Dr Andrew Kan   ✓ Fact Checked

Discover how seniors can build and maintain muscle mass to reduce injury risks and improve quality of life. Learn effective strength-training tips, dietary recommendations, and why age is just a number when it comes to fitness.

(Last Updated on June 5, 2024)

As we age, we lose muscle mass, function, and strength. This means older people have a high risk of falling or getting injured.

This is why seniors should try to increase muscle mass through moderate strength training and healthy food choices.

Seniors can preserve bone density, maintain balance, and enjoy independence with healthy muscle mass.

Everyone from all age groups can build muscle mass, and seniors aren’t exempted. So, to experience the benefits of building your muscle mass in your older years, here are some muscle-building tips you can follow.

How Long Does It Take For Seniors To Build Muscle?

Many think it will be more difficult for older individuals to get the desired results quickly. However, age is not the main reason you are not seeing results in all your fitness efforts. Results may vary for everyone. Mostly, it depends on an individual’s fitness level and dedication towards achieving their fitness goals.

For instance, if you have high blood pressure, like more than three-quarters of seniors in the United States, you will be advised to engage in light exercises, thus affecting your progress. If you are taking medications like lisinopril, read guides like “All You Need to Know: Lisinopril” and see if you can engage in a specific kind of exercise, considering the side effects and limitations when under medication.

It is recommended to hire a fitness trainer so you can have a tailored fitness plan and achieve the desired results within a specific timeframe. Remember, age is just a number. There is no such thing as being too old to work towards your fitness goals. As long as you put your heart and mind into it, you will definitely see the results of your consistency and commitment to fitness.

Muscle Building Tips For Seniors

Start building your muscles today by following these valuable tips:

Warm-up and Stretches

If you have a training plan, do warm-up and stretch before you get into the main exercises. As we age, our muscles become more prone to injury, so it is essential to warm up to avoid muscle strains, tearing, and bone fractures. Before starting strenuous muscle exercises, do pre-workouts like light jogging and stretches that concentrate on the muscles you would like to train in that session.

Use Resistance Bands

Add resistance bands to your strength training routines. Incorporating a resistance band to stretch a muscle until it begins to strain will naturally increase muscle fibers, thus building your overall muscle mass. Moreover, resistance bands can also help improve the muscle strength of elders, even those with functional limitations.

Bodyweight Exercises

If you don’t have weights or a resistance band, you may do bodyweight exercises like pushups, situps, and squats. These are crucial components of strength training exercises for seniors. These exercises don’t necessitate equipment, so they are totally doable at home. Make sure you take breaks between sets and allow your muscles to recover.

Exercise Machines

Multi-joint exercises, or exercises that involve more than one joint, are ideal for seniors. These exercises can be done with the use of exercise machines. These exercise machines can vary from lat pulldown, elliptical, rowing, and recumbent exercise bikes. By investing in these stationary exercise machines, seniors won’t have to worry about pathogens and external allergens, which are common concerns in movable weights.

Lifting Light to Moderate Weights

Seniors can lift weights, but very heavy weights are not recommended. You should adapt weight lifts based on your health condition, which could cover previous injuries, joint problems, and lack of flexibility. It is best to consult your fitness trainer to gauge which lifting exercises suit your fitness level.

Sufficient Rest

Take rests to give time for muscles to recover. Do not strain multiple muscle groups at the same time. Follow your exercise plan so you can avoid injuries. Take note that rest is not just about taking a day off from going to the gym. It should also be applicable immediately after your workout. This could go in the form of cool down, specifically stretching.

Foods To Eat To Build Muscle

Besides the fitness exercises we have mentioned above, seniors must also watch the food they eat. To help you determine which foods can build muscles, here are some options for you:

Soy Foods

If you are not allowed to eat meat due to health concerns, soy foods can be alternative protein sources.

Eggs

A large egg has amino acids and 6 grams of protein, making it a healthy meal addition.

Meat

An ounce of meat has 7 grams of protein, making it the highest source of protein for seniors. As red meat may be too tough for elders to chew, add ground meat to casseroles and pasta dishes, among other senior-friendly recipes.

Fatty Fish

With their omega-3 fatty acid content, fatty fish can provide heart health benefits to seniors. Moreover, it is rich in protein, thus helping seniors build their muscles.

Milk

A glass of milk has 8 grams of protein. It can also be added to shakes and smoothies, boosting nutrients and protein in seniors’ diets.

Conclusion

Muscle gain and maintenance are essential for seniors. Not making an effort translates to losing body strength, mobility problems, and increased risks of falls and injuries. Don’t wait for these issues to happen. Get active and eat the right food. Follow the tips in this guide and lead a fit and fabulous senior life!

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