Many people over the age of 50 are not in the best shape of their lives, and they may also need to manage issues like past injuries, joint pain, and chronic muscle aches. It’s also important to remember that the 50-plus set might need to spend some extra time staying limber and take more than a day between serious workouts to recover. You may even want to work with a stretching expert, as stretching becomes even more important as we age. We turned to experts to find out the dos and don’ts of working out for occasional exercisers—and those who’ve sustained injuries—after age 50, as previously noted. Here Kristen Fischer, HealthLine.com, reflects on why it is never too late to start exercising:
“When he was 70, Jim Owen realized his successful but sedentary career on Wall Street was impairing his health. That was when Owen, who turns 79 next month, began exercising.
He chronicled his journey as an older person reclaiming his physical fitness in “Just Move! A New Approach to Fitness After 50.”
Now, a new study in the journal Frontiers in Physiology backs up what Owen witnessed firsthand: Even if you’ve never worked out regularly and are older, your body has the same ability to build muscle mass.
A team at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom compared the ability of men to build muscle mass. They looked at two groups: People older than 60 who exercised at least twice a week for at least 20 years, and those who didn’t have a consistent workout routine.
Participants had a muscle biopsy 48 hours before consuming an isotope tracer drink and conducting a weight training session, then another biopsy after finishing. The drink enabled the researchers to see how proteins were developing within the muscle.
Both groups had equal abilities to build muscle in response to exercise.
“Our study clearly shows that it doesn’t matter if you haven’t been a regular exerciser throughout your life: You can still derive benefit from exercise whenever you start,” said lead researcher Leigh Breen, PhD, a lecturer at the university.
“Obviously a long-term commitment to good health and exercise is the best approach to achieve whole-body health, but even starting later on in life will help delay age-related frailty and muscle weakness,” he said.
Although they’re already better off fitnesswise, the avid exercisers’ bodies synthesized protein at the same rate as the untrained individuals when it came to the specific resistance training exercise used, says Joe Masiello, a trainer and co-founder of Focus Personal Training Institute in New York City.
“Physiologically, younger subjects have a greater advantage to building muscle than older subjects,” Masiello said.
Regardless of age, progressive overload is essential to avoid plateau. That means you have to apply adequate stimulus (or exercise stress) and variation consistently to continuously build — and not just maintain — muscle.
How working out works
When stimulus is applied to the body, it makes adaptations to moderate the stress. Actin and myosin are the two major proteins inside muscles that are responsible for muscle contraction. They increase as we work out, building more protein so muscles get stronger.
“The process of building muscle begins the second that you ask your muscles to do something challenging and unfamiliar, whether that’s picking up a dumbbell, performing a pushup, or sprinting on a treadmill,” said Jamie Hickey, a personal trainer from Pennsylvania.
Exercise stress damages muscle cells, or fibers. As the body repairs them, they become bigger than they were before — building muscle.
In short, the experience level of the exerciser doesn’t really matter as long as the resistance or exercise is challenging.
“If the muscle is challenged, it will change,” added Tom Holland, an exercise physiologist and certified sports nutritionist from Connecticut.”
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Read More … Article Source: https://www.healthline.com/health-news/why-its-never-too-late-to-start-exercising#How-working-out-works
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