The most common age group of gym users is known to be around 25-40 years old.
This is not surprising as enhancing appearance and improving fitness levels in order to perform well in sports and competition motivate the younger adult.
But what about the Baby Boomer generation?
All those between 50-65 years old.
Most people in this age group seem to be on the golf course or on the couch but very rarely in the gym!
Once we surpass our physical prime in our late 20s we lose about 10 ounces of lean muscle and gain approximately one pound of body fat every year. That is a 10-pound weight increase every decade!
This gradual loss of muscle and more body fat may explain why senior individuals have trouble performing daily tasks, as they get older.
Losing muscle tissue will mean all those calories previously used by active muscles will now get stored as fat.This reduces the metabolism and results in weight gain.
Putting on the pounds is not the only downside of muscle loss.
Decreased muscle tissue leads to bone loss associated with osteoporosis, decreases insulin sensitivity in the body, which can lead to diabetes and impairs functional skeletal status resulting in movement dysfunction.
This is not the inevitable form of aging but the inevitable form of disuse!
In strength training terms the Rule of Specificity can be summarised as ‘if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it’ and explains the reason why seniors lose muscle, mobility and flexibility.
It is because they stop using resistance training altogether and move onto other activities and sometimes even nothing at all.
Resistance training should play an important part in any senior’s lifestyle to improve quality of life and prevent frailty associated with aging.
Age really is just a number and although physiologically muscle function and strength decreases with age, muscle function can always be improved with training even in the very old.
There is an alarming statistic that 24% of people over the age of 50 who fracture a hip die within a year!
Falling is a very serious issue and can be prevented with resistance training and exercise.
If you are over 50 and wish to get back into a training regime then seek the help of an exercise professional and try to follow these guidelines:
- Perform one exercise for each Primal Pattern (Squat, Lunge, Bend, Push, Pull, Twist and Gait.)
- Complete 1 -3 sets of each exercise. Start with one set and build up.
- Execute 12-15 repetitions per exercise. Increase weight once 15 reps are easy.
- Include a flexibility routine and stretch out all the muscles that you feel are tight.
- Carry out this routine 2-3 per week.
I train all my senior clients using this effective method.
One of my 60-year old clients regularly performs up to 100-pound barbell deadlifts and she knows that age really is just a number!