With the right training, adults can keep building muscle as they age
Conventional wisdom has held that older adults reach a point at which they are unable to build any more muscle, but a new study has found that this view may be way off the mark. In fact, researchers at the University of Michigan Health System have found that resistance training can help maintain and improve strength no matter a person's age.
"Our analyses of current research show that the most important factor in somebody's function is their strength capacity," said Dr. Mark Peterson. "No matter what age an individual is, they can experience significant strength improvement with progressive resistance exercise even into the eighth and ninth decades of life."
If you're just getting started, it seems that it's best to gradually build up to full work outs. After consulting with a doctor, experts suggest performing hip bridges or standing up out of a chair. This repetitive motion can help build up strength that can then be used in the gym.
Peterson recommends finding a trainer who has previously worked with your age group. He adds that beginners should start out exercising twice a week.
"Working out at age 20 is not the same as at age 70," he said. "A fitness professional who understands those differences is important for your safety."
Full body exercises can sometimes be the most effective and help build up additional strength - leg and chest presses, as well as rows, are safe activities that can easily be done in the gym of a retirement community.
Some research has found that strength training can actually turn back the clock and keep an active adult can stay youthful for longer.
"After one year of strength training, women's bodies were 15 to 20 years more youthful," the study read, according to HealthNewsDigest.com. Using weights can also improve muscle and joint health, and improves the immune system.
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