You are never too old to get stronger and gain muscle.
And that is essential as you get older, because lack of strength is the number one reason for falls.
But the latest research shows that you can still gain strength and muscle at any age, even if you are, "no spring chicken" anymore. Danish scientists studied 36 patients between the ages of 60-86 years old after having a single hip replacement surgery.
Reference: J Appl Physiol 105: 180-186, 2008.
One group of subjects did three resistance training workouts per week for 12 weeks after surgery and increased muscle strength by over 29% at both fast and slow speeds of movement.
Plus, they increased the size of their slow and fast muscle fibers (which make up your muscles) by 17% and 37%, respectively.
As I mentioned before, getting stronger, especially at faster speeds of movement, is essential to help you avoid slipping and falling. In addition, the subjects were able to boost their stair walking power by 35%, and researchers found this was related to the increase in their fast muscle fibers.
In order to work your fast muscle fibers, you need to do challenging strength training workouts. Using light weights that you can do for 20-30 reps will not boost your fast-twitch muscle fiber strength or your power.
The researchers also found that traditional rehabilitation methods had no functional or strength benefits.
So no matter what your age, make plans to meet with a personal trainer who knows how to get you stronger using basic, life-applicable exercises such as as step-ups, squats, rows, and pushups.
Avoid any trainer who wants you to train with light weights for "toning" as that will have no long-term benefit on your health and performance.
Helping you cut through the fat loss clutter to get more results in less time,
Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
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