How to get stronger as you age

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“It’s not the years, honey, it’s the mileage.” – Indiana Jones

Like Indy, you’ve lived a little.

However, becoming older does not indicate that it is time to take a break. You don’t have to lose strength and stop doing the things you enjoy. You can age and grow stronger regardless of how many miles are on the odometer.

And this power has a significant impact on how long you live in good health. Gaining strength is linked to lower mortality rates, healthier aging, stronger bones and hearts, and higher quality of life, as we’ll demonstrate below.

The good news? Adding muscle and reaping the rewards of exercise are never too late. But as you get older, you need to start approaching your exercise in a new way if you want to stay in shape (or acquire even better shape).

Body changes with Age: What to Expect

In actuality, being older increases the likelihood of age-related changes. If they are not addressed, they may lower your quality of life and potentially shorten your life expectancy.

In the United States, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. And older folks (those 65 and over) are more at risk, according to the National Institute on Aging.

What causes this to occur? Fatty deposits may accumulate in the artery walls as we age. These buildups, also known as plaque, can harden and gradually constrict the arteries over time. This condition, known as arteriosclerosis, increases the risk of a heart attack by decreasing oxygen and blood flow to the heart.

Your skeletal system experiences aging-related changes as well. A living tissue is bone. Although changes might not happen as quickly as they do elsewhere in the body, the body breaks down and replaces bone structure.

Our body begins removing more bone tissue than it replaces at the age of 50. Osteoporosis is a condition that weakens your bones and raises your risk of fractures or falls.

What doesn’t really change as you get older, do you know? your metabolic rate When body size variations are taken into account, recent research found that your metabolism does not vary between the ages of 20 and 60.

(Let that sink in.)

The prevailing belief for years—possibly forever—was that as we become older, our metabolism slows down. The groundbreaking research, however, which brought together the efforts of over 80 experts, 6,500 individuals, ranging in age from 8 days to 95, and the most precise ways of measuring metabolism, upended the field of weight loss research.


Some laws remain in effect. Although it’s a myth that those who are leaner have metabolisms that work more quickly, the more calories you burn the heavier you are. However, once size differences are taken into consideration, neither males nor women’s metabolisms change as much as we formerly believed.

The metabolism does begin to slow down after the age of 60, roughly 1% annually. It might not come as a surprise that this seems to be connected to a drop-in activity.

Mobility Maintenance: The Best Injury Prevention Strategy

Your risk of damage or hazardous falls rises if you can’t move your joints freely across their range of motion (and regulate it).

Regular exercise is difficult to undertake if you are injured. And when you are unable to exercise, muscle loss starts. Why is this important? A lower (or shorter) lifetime is closely connected with muscle atrophy.

Losing weight also indirectly involves avoiding injury. Regular exercise outside of the gym, or NEAT, can assist in keeping your body weight within a healthy range. If you don’t move around much during the day, the pounds may creep up on you much like the years.

So, for a higher quality of life and a longer lifespan, mobility is crucial.

In contrast to strength training, which we’ll discuss further below, mobility declines with age. As you age, you’ll probably need to put in more time each week to keep your mobility.

The amount? According to a suggestion made by strength coach Mike Boyle, you should allocate one mobility session per week for each decade you’ve lived through. If you just turned 50, you would need to work five days a week in mobility.

This does not imply that you must stretch for an hour every day. After all, being older does not necessarily mean that you have more time on your hands each day. The majority of folks just need 10 to 15 minutes every day.

Uncertain about where to begin? A longer warm-up could be beneficial before strength training sessions. You’re more likely to succeed if you build on an existing habit (your workout).

I recommend a work-to-mobility ratio of 4:1 for the majority of our clients. Therefore, if your exercise session lasts 40 minutes, you should begin with 10 minutes of mobility and flexibility exercises.

On rest days, you could also combine cardio and mobility. Do six repetitions of a move like the Squat Strider Kick-Through Flow on each side before you go for a stroll (you walk every day, right?). Your entire body will become more relaxed, and your heart rate will increase.


Strength Training: What Should Change As You Age And What Shouldn’t

As you become older, your workout needs to change. It was enjoyable while it lasted, but the days of training hard every day and maxing out your bench press or squat are probably over. The current focus of your training is longevity.

By longevity, what do I mean? As you get older, you lose a few things, and I’m not just talking about your memory.

If you are inactive, muscle loss can start as early as your 30s and will continue annually at a rate of 1-2% every year. As lifespans lengthen, this may cause serious muscle loss in your 60s and beyond.

You will also gradually lose what we refer to as power, or the capacity to move fast. Consider performing exercises like leaping or medicine ball throwing.

What is the greatest strategy to counteract this loss of strength and muscle? exercising safely while plyometrically lifting weights. There is no better approach to maintain good mobility throughout your entire life than when combined with frequent physical activity.

How therefore ought your software to evolve? It’s time to embrace bodybuilding if you’re 55 or older. In other words, your current exercise objective is to increase your lean muscle mass. We train for “hypertrophy” in this way. You can add muscle at any age, therefore it is true.

It’s not that strength isn’t important; getting older does not necessarily entail becoming weaker. According to a recent Norwegian study, lifting weights can help you stay stronger well into your 70s. And both men and women were affected by those findings.

Low reps and heavy weight, however, exhaust you and raise your risk of injury. The risk-reward ratio is no longer in your advantage, as I frequently remind my clients.

The answer? Change how you define strength.

Higher volumes (sets x reps), according to research, are superior for promoting hypertrophy in older adults. The objective of hypertrophy training is to increase the number of sets and repetitions in each workout.

The majority of people overlook the fact that you gain muscle and get stronger with age if you can increase the weight each week while performing the same number of reps.

Your Age-Proof Exercise Program

By working out hard three times a week, you’ll probably feel your finest and advance the most. Our capacity to put in hard work in the gym doesn’t deteriorate as much with age as our capacity to recuperate from such workouts.


3 full-body workouts each week are therefore the norm for most people. These exercises should be basic. Pick a squat (or single-leg movement), an upper-body pull, an upper-body push, a hinge, and a carry. Perform 1-2 difficult sets of 8–12 repetitions.

Add one or two of your preferred isolation moves to the end of each workout. I would contend that if you are 55 or older, you should work more alone. Isolation exercises can assist you in maintaining as much lean muscle mass as you can, which is something we’re all battling for. They are also less stressful on your joints.

That’s accurate. You are free to perform additional curls, lateral lifts, and triceps press downs now. Thank you very much.

We emphasized this earlier, but it bears repeating: Begin each workout with a brief mobility session. Mobility is a continuous process and a daily habit, not a one-time event.

Recall the power outage we talked about earlier? Perform a few of power exercises after warming up to prevent this. Low box leaps, various med ball throws, or even landmine clean to presses are effective.

Last but not least, incorporate 20 to 40 minutes of LISS (low-intensity steady state) cardio 1-2 times per week in addition to your daily activity level. The ideal decision? long strolls

What To Watch Out For

Do you recall the LifeAlert television commercials? They are known for one line (and excellent acting), “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up,” if you’ve seen them.

Even if the overacting in the commercials might make you chuckle, getting older increases your risk of falling. Falls are the top cause of injury and death in persons 65 and older, according to the CDC. not cancer or heart disease. Falling.

The best means of preventing falls? We talked about the fundamentals, such as strength training (don’t overlook single-leg motions), power growth, and daily mobility habits. It’s also crucial to develop safe fall techniques.

Another aspect of getting older that can be felt is joint pain. While your training may be to blame, inactivity is frequently to blame. You may prevent joint discomfort from aging by getting stronger with wise training.

However, these are not the Marines. Pain is not the body losing its strength. Don’t force yourself to continue if something doesn’t seem right. To improve your technique, experiment with changing the movements or seek instruction.

Finally, you should speak with your doctor before beginning any new workout regimen. Stop exercising right away and get medical help if you feel chest pain or shortness of breath.