As we age, a gradual decline in strength happens if we’re inactive. While it is more challenging to build and maintain muscle tone, after the age of 65, it is possible. With a guided exercise routine, proper nutrition, and good living practices, maintaining strength can help avoid the risk of falls and other health problems.
Can You Build Muscles After Age 65?
Muscles shrink as we age, leaving us prone to falls and instability. Compounding muscle atrophy, or the loss of muscle mass, can result from inactivity after surgeries, illness, or other health-related issues. However, it is possible to gain or regain muscle mass.
These are all prime examples of why doctors send patients to rehab after an extended hospital stay. The goal is typically to get patients back on their feet and strong enough to go home. Once released, it is essential to maintain an exercise regimen to retain muscle mass and continue to grow stronger.
Even if you were not hospitalized, establishing an exercise routine is important for long-term health, and it is never too late to start.
Studies have shown that those who start weight training, even in their 70’s, could develop muscles greater than folks half their age, who do not weight train. What this tells us is that it is possible to, not only keep our muscle mass but to become stronger as we age.
Keeping Muscles Strong in Elderly
There are many ways that we can keep our muscles strong as we get older. Yoga, Pilates, dance and weight training are smart ways to keep your strength. The Greens’ weekly Chair Dance Movement class offers ways for our residents to keep their bodies and muscles active and strong.
According to The Greens’ Senior Executive Director Ron Bucci, “It is well documented that exercise for strength, balance activities, and aerobics is vital for senior citizens. Each of these helps reduce the chances of falls, improving mobility, and combats cognitive decline. ”
Anything that you can do, which gets you moving, at any age or with any health condition, can be a great benefit.
How Exercise Helps Our Brains
When we exercise, blood flow is increased to all areas of our body, including our brain. When we are sedentary, it is much harder to get nutrient-rich blood to the brain. Therefore, movement is essential. Even if we eat a balanced or high protein diet, unless we are active, optimal blood flow and the brain-boosting benefits of our diet choices, will not take place. Exercise is essential to make this all work correctly.
Exercises that can be done by seniors of any age or ability include:
Higher activity level exercise includes:
Each level and type of exercise has its own benefits. Weight training helps your muscles stay strong, while yoga and other flexibility exercises can help with balance. While you should always consult a physician before beginning a new exercise regimen, the data speaks for itself. Seniors can get stronger and more fit as they age.