Losing Muscle After Age 50!

Resistance training has been a staple of my training programs for the last two decades.

There are many reasons for this. Research and scientific evidence suggests benefits from some type of resistance training 2-3 times a week for healthy adults. This is why I love to create proper resistance training programs for boomers.

Why is this important?

Loss of lean muscle causes premature aging, lower metabolic rate, poor blood circulation, and other health issues. Lack of resistance training is also associated with an higher risk of osteopenia, osteoporosis, weak tendons and ligaments, decreased balance and coordination, and elevated signs of heart disease.

Michael Popke wrote an article for Athletic Business Newswire stating, “Studies suggest that aging individuals should consider beginning a strength a strength training regimen as early as possible to maximize results and delay sarcopenia, an age-related muscle deterioration that can lead to mobility disability and loss of independence for older adults.”

Over 5,000 references and studies have found that sedentary adults lose 0.4 pounds of muscle each year after age 50. That means 4 pounds of muscle loss every 10 years.

The American College of Sports Medicine also published articles which described how lifting weights can slow down age-related muscle loss in older adults, thus boomers can live independently longer. A University of Michigan research team compiled information from 49 studies with 81 cohorts to develop an extraordinary report. The studies discovered that older adults can gain approximately 2.42 lbs of lean body mass after 20 weeks of strength training. The participants involved in the studies had an average age of 50.

This is an amazing result. Mark Peterson, Ph.D. (lead author in the study) says future generations of seniors who incorporate resistance training will be less likely to suffer the age-related problems of muscle loss and can improve his or her quality of life.

If older adults start a proper resistance training program, then they will be less likely lose their independence and quality of life. A good example is my grandmother; she is 83 years of age and is fully independent, performs resistance training two times per week for 20 minutes, and walks for an hour every day. Grandma has a high quality of life, whereas most 83 year olds are in nursing homes or deceased. Moreover, imagine the lives being changed because of something as simple as a proper strength training program.

Progressive strength training is the key for long term muscle growth especially in older adults. Researchers have pointed the importance of considering the volume, sets, and load when designing a strength training program. Be sure to check with your doctor before beginning any new fitness program.


Guest Author Dietrich Dejean is the owner of DTR Fitness. He offers personalized fitness assessments to identify your starting point and quickly get you moving in the right direction. In addition, custom resistance training, cardio and flexibility programs; a simple, effective and customized program that gets you to increase vitality… faster!

American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM, 2011). Lifting weights can help seniors stay independent
longer. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (official journal of ACSM). Information retrieved February of 2011 from http://www.acsm.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home_Page&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&CONTENTID=15612

Popke, Michael (2011). Study: Weights Help Seniors Stay Independent Longer. Information retrieved
February 1, 2011 from Athletic Business Newswire.

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