Do you want to know how seniors can build and maintain lean muscle? As we age, muscle mass decreases, bones become frailer, and joints become less flexible than in our younger years. While this is bound to happen to everyone eventually, it is possible to delay the effects of aging with regular physical activity and exercise. For seniors looking to get stronger without putting too much strain on their bodies, building lean muscle mass can be a great way to feel younger and move through life with more confidence.
Lean muscle usually refers to muscle with a minimal amount of fat around it and isn’t overly bulky in how a bodybuilder’s muscles might be. We also refer to it as “toned” muscle, as a person’s muscles are more defined and easily identifiable when looking in a mirror.
This kind of muscle may seem complicated to attain for seniors who have more difficulty staying active. Still, with the proper amount of dedication, anyone can build lean muscle and take on every day with renewed energy and vigor.
The most crucial part of building lean muscle for seniors is physical exercise. According to research published in Medicine & Science In Sports & Exercise, an average male who weighs 180 pounds might lose as much as 10 pounds of muscle mass over a decade after age 60. That same research found that older adults who begin lifting weights after age 50 may reverse the effects of age-related muscle loss and even build more muscle.
While some seniors may not complete specific exercises because of their muscle mass loss, it just means they’ll have to rely on exercises that accommodate their situation to build more lean muscle.
Exercises that Build Lean Muscle
Many exercises can help seniors build lean muscle without putting too much strain on their bodies.
For seniors who want to build lean muscle in their lower body, weighted and unweighted squats are a great option to avoid excess pressure on the knees. When completing this exercise, it’s essential to focus the body’s weight on the heels to protect the knees. Squat down as far as you’re comfortable with and hold on to a wall or chair if there are balance issues.
To build lean muscle in the upper body, weight squeezes are a practical option. For this exercise, squeeze a weighted plate with the palms of your hands with your elbows up and out at 10-second intervals. It should look like you’re trying to crush the weight between your hands, and the resistance put on the muscles will help build lean muscle without putting too much stress on the chest or arms.
Cardio can also be a great complement to other lean-muscle-building exercises. For individuals in senior independent living, starting a walking group with other seniors can be a great way to make training more social.
While exercise is crucial in building lean muscle for seniors, nutrition is vital in maintaining that muscle. Without specific essential vitamins and minerals, most seniors won’t be able to see optimal results from their exercise. To get the leanest muscle possible, there are a few things that every senior should work into their regular diet.
Dietary Habits that Build Lean Muscle
When building any muscle mass, the main thing to focus on is the proper ingestion of protein. Also, this is because your body uses protein to build muscle mass, and consuming a regular amount of things like fish and chicken will contribute to more lean muscle production.
Carbohydrates are also an essential part of building lean muscle, as the body uses carbohydrates to produce energy. Without this energy, the body will burn muscle and protein for energy. So, by keeping a balanced amount of carbohydrates in your daily diet, your body will maintain muscle mass and have the power to keep moving.
Start Building Lean Muscle Today
Have you wanted to build lean muscle and feel stronger in your everyday life? Don’t wait until you already feel weak; change your physical health today. With the proper nutrition and exercise, seniors across retirement homes and senior independent living can live healthier lives.
About the Author
Jenn Walker is a freelance writer, blogger, dog-enthusiast, and avid beachgoer operating out of Southern New Jersey.