In older people, with their increasing age, the majority of them tend to lose muscle mass. Muscle mass can be defined as the physical or actual size of any individuals’ muscles. It is a part of physical fitness along with some other components such as endurance, speed, power, and flexibility. It is generally considered that elders cannot jump back into shape due to their age, which is wrong in its entirety. Elders too, can gain muscle mass and get stronger with the proper guidance.
Generally, elders who are inactive after their 50’s tend to start losing a lot of muscle which only gets worse as they continue to age and still remain sedentary and fail to engage in muscle using and strengthening activities. The impact of which is that they fail to perform the basic and minimal tasks; for instance, walking, standing up, climbing stairs, and so forth. All of which can be avoided by maintaining a healthy diet and performing progressive resistance exercises.
Progressive resistance exercises use an individual’s own body weight and aid in strengthening functionality and increasing lean muscle tissue in the body, which can help elders perform day to day activities with ease and function more efficiently and proactively.
How to Get Started
To get started, very basic and simple exercise should be performed to get the body started up with the process, instead of diving straight into it which could do more harm than good. The exercises used in this include revised push-ups, squats, and hip bridges while lying on the back. Some other forms of exercise disciplines such as Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, and others also help in this process. An additional benefit to the exercise disciplines is that it also has relaxation benefits for those elders.
Join a Fitness Program
Once you and your body have grown accustomed to this pace of exercises, stepping up a notch must be considered by challenging yourself. You should look into fitness centers, where a certified and professional trainer is readily available who has experience working with elders.
The trainer could then assist in designing a fitness program according to the needs of your body and keeping in check whether you are working in the correct form or not. Especially in helping you prevent any type of serious injury or accident which has a higher chance of occurring among elders in comparison to youngsters. As working out and following a fitness regime in your 20’s is not the same as doing it in your 60’s or 70’s.
As the progressive resistance training starts to progress when you are starting to get accustomed to the use of weights and working with machines, you must move further into an advanced level. Now, full-body exercises should be incorporated into the fitness plan. Exercises which will make use of all parts of your body and not just one muscle area or one joint.
For instance, exercises including chest presses and rows along with leg presses. Such exercises are known to be effective and help in gaining muscle mass more efficiently. Some also suggest including cardio in the fitness plan. The cardio does not have to be robust, especially for elders. Low-impact cardio; for example, walking, swimming, and riding a bike will do the job just fine.
Plan Your Diet
Maintaining a fitness plan and increasing your level of activity is not enough, having a healthier diet is also just as vital, both of which must be consistently done. A good diet including the following:
- Getting proper levels of nutrition in your diet
- High protein intake, as protein is used in building muscle mass
- Drinking water vigorously daily
- Intake of carbohydrates and they help produce energy
- Consuming foods rich in fiber
- Maintain calcium and vitamin D intake for protection of bones