There’s some disagreement about when “older” happens but just about all the experts agree that after the age of 65, most people will experience shrinking muscles.
And, smaller muscles means less strength, quicker fatigue, less overall ability, and more fat on your body.
One of the reasons this happens is that the blood flow in your legs, for example, slows. This in turn alters how your body uses certain hormones, like insulin, which in turn alters how your body builds and breaks down muscle.
I don’t know about you but I’m not too thrilled about losing muscle mass. Sure, I can be as vain as the next guy sometimes but really, I have a lot of things I like to do, want to do, and I need my muscles to do their job.
The good news is researchers have found that muscle building exercise age-reverses the blood flow in people of 65 years of age creating blood flow patterns of a 25 year old. The downside is that you have to work at it. It’s not a pill or a lotion or something someone can do to you. You have to make your muscles work and do it three times a week for five months to produce the changes.
To help you get started, are three leg rejuvenating exercises. To do these, you should be able to squat on both legs without any joint pain (pain in or around the joints) in the back, hip, knee, or ankle.
- Squat – Freeze: Perform 5 squats without any extra weight than your body weight and then stop the motion when your knees reach about 90 degrees. Hold the squat position for 5 seconds then proceed right into the next series of squats again. Do this cycle 3 times for a total of 15 squats.
- Split Squat: Stand with one foot out in front of the other – about 12-18 inches. Squat down until your knee reaches about a 90 degree angle then return to the starting position. After 12 repetitions, your muscles should be moderately tired (so, you could possibly do 2-3 more reps). If not, hold a 10 lb dumb bell in one hand and try again. Rest for a minute and repeat two more times.
- Squat – Press: To do this drill, you’ll need two dumb bells.
- Take a wide stance – feet beyond shoulder width apart.
- Stand holding a dumb bell in each hand at shoulder level. Squat down to about a 90 degree position in the knees. As you stand up, press the dumb bells over head. Use a light weight dumb bell between 3 and 8 lbs and aim for 10 repetitions with a moderate amount of fatigue. Rest 1 minute and repeat two more times. You can easily increase the demand by increasing the dumb bell weight.
If you’ve not exercised in a long time, consider a visit to a trainer or therapist and get some coaching first. That’s especially true if you have any kind of joint symptoms – aching, stiffness, pain, soreness, or swelling. The drills can be surprisingly difficult even without much weight. If these kinds of drills are new to you, try one set, two days a week with two days of rest in between for a couple of weeks and then add another set, etc. Ease into it and give your body time to adjust.
Get Fit, Active and Healthy at Any Age
Is it just eating right and working out? Do you have to do a lot of “cardio”? Eat a low fat diet? Obsess over calories? Lift heavy weights in a boring gym? Pray you don’t get hurt doing exercises that 20 year olds can barely do?
The key to optimizing your health is gaining a new set of physical and mental skills. You have to know what to eat and how to exercise safely and efficiently.
You can’t afford to just roll the dice with your body as you age.
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