You need to reduce muscle mass loss with aging. After all, it's a scary statistic. You potentially could lose over several pounds of muscle per decade after age 30 and more if you diet.
With that muscle loss probably comes a lower metabolism, and an increased risk of falls and injury, not to mention a dramatic decline in your beach body.
But this can be avoided.
According to a study in the journal, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, adding strength training to a low-calorie diet plan can help men and women reduce muscle loss.
The subjects in this 6-month study included 30 obese men and women (average age of 70).
Exercise Attenuates the Weight-Loss-Induced Reduction in Muscle Mass in Frail Obese Older Adults. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 40(7):1213-1219, July 2008.
They were put in two groups. One group followed a low calorie diet and the other group followed the diet and added progressively more difficult resistance training.
The results were shocking. Both groups lost over 14.9 pounds of fat, however the exercise group lost only 4 pounds of fat free mass (this includes muscle) while the diet group lost 7.7 pounds of fat free mass.
Although the exercise group did lose some muscle, the subjects in that group still increased strength by 17-43%, an essential defense against deadly falls.
You are never too old to lose fat and take up resistance training to help you avoid muscle loss.
Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Author, Turbulence Training
Men's Health Fitness Expert