10 Reasons Why You Should Do More Strength Training and Cardio

300px-Diagram_of_the_human_heart_(cropped)_svgI have been looking back on some of my recent strength training sessions as well as the interval training I have been doing on the cardio side. We have a tendency, with exercise, to judge if it’s working by what the bathroom scale currently reads. But that should not be the case; weight loss does not always depict the full story. With each bout of exercise, we are improving various physiological and psychological aspects of our body that are not visible to the naked eye. For example:

Strength Training:

  • Building muscle mass can increase metabolism by 15% – so if you’re looking to rev up that slow metabolism and become or stay functional as you age – you need to be strength training at least a few times each week.
  • Prevents Sarcopenia – which is the loss of muscle mass as you age – you can lose up to 10% or more of your muscle per decade after age 50.
  • Plays a role in disease prevention – like type 2 diabetes for example.
  • Improves the way your body moves resulting in better balance and less falls as you age (you can reduce your risk for falling by 40%).
  • Preserves the loss of muscle during weight loss (Donnelly et al., 2003)
  • Will offset bone loss as you age – women can expect to lose 1% of their bone mass after age 35 (and this increases following menopause) – see Strong Women, Strong Bones

Cardiovascular Exercise:

  • Aerobic exercise will improve your mood by decreasing stress and anxiety levels – read The Inner Runner by Jason Karp, Phd and Exercise for Mood and Anxiety by Michael Otto, Phd and Jasper Smits, PhD
  • Regular cardio exercise like jogging, hiking, jump roping etc will “load” your bones in your lower extremity and make them stronger.
  • Makes your heart stronger, lowers your resting heart rate and enables your body to deliver oxygen more efficiently to your working muscles.
  • The American College of Sports Medicine states that higher levels of cardiovascular fitness are associated with approximately a 50% reduction in disease risk.

Reference:

Donnelly, J.E., Jakicic, J.M., Pronk, N., Smith, B.K., Kirk, E.P., Jacobsen, D.J., Washburn, R. “Is Resistance Training Effective for Weight Management?” Evidence-Based Preventive Medicine. 2003; 1(1): 21-29.

How Strength Training Can Prevent Sarcopenia

We are not entirely sure what actually blesses our life with longevity. Yes, we are able to determine some factors via science, plus life expectancy is constantly on the rise, but there still isn’t a tool which can accurately measure our expiry date, or pinpoint the exact time of our death, technically speaking. However, there have been loads of surveys which tell us that almost every single person in the world doesn’t want to know how long it will take him or her to kick the bucket to begin with.

It is that unyielding dilemma which forces us to find ways to extend our vitality as much as we possibly can, so we resort to all manner of methods to keep our skin young and our bodies stout. And what is the first sign of aging? Well, apart from the laugh lines, the crow’s feet, and other hints, there is a medical condition which easily signifies the decline of health – sarcopenia. It is a slow and gradual loss of both skeletal and muscle mass which starts to kick in after the age of 30. Sadly, no one is exempt from this natural physiological change, and it is not pathological like a disease or syndrome, but there are ways to suppress its effects and hold the beast at bay, nevertheless.

You’ve probably seen or heard about elderly people up to the age of 100 who have either finished a marathon, maintained a buff, chiseled body, done an amazing athletic feat, or just defied their impending frailty by tirelessly working on their physique and keeping in shape. Honestly, whenever you witness something like that, the hat goes instantly down. We can all learn a thing or two from such experiences, so let’s see exactly how fitness prevents sarcopenia.

Bone density

The slow decay known as bone loss speeds up for both men and women during mid-life. Now, it is not something you should be scared of, considering that it is a natural occurrence, but you should tackle it head on and postpone its effects instead. Remember, we are talking about your body here, so you have all the threads to pull in your favor. For most women, increased bone loss ensues after menopause, because that is when estrogen levels drop sharply. It is said that women ages 65 to 70 who experience a fracture around the hip-joint are five times more likely to die within a year than women of the same age who don’t experience a fracture around the hip-joint. As for men, well, their skeleton is larger, loss starts later and progresses more slowly, and they do not have a period of rapid hormonal change, but that does not exempt them from the condition.

Muscle density

By the time we reach our seventies, we lose a tad more than half of our muscle mass, which explains why we feel weak and easily tire as we age. This is the main reason why strength training can prevent this occurrence, which not only keeps your muscles active and dense, but it also helps slow down the process of bone loss, too. A study has been conducted showing that postmenopausal women, who took part in a strength-training program for just one year, noticed significant improvement of their spine and hip – something which sarcopenia devours if allowed. Men (and women) who lift steel will experience a rise in testosterone levels, which is crucial for building lean mass and boosting metabolic activity. Working on your physique despite your age can greatly influence your body’s recovery, so do not shy away from breaking a sweat every now and then.

Utilize an effective strength training program and develop a diet

Two types of training are essential while creating your own strength training program. One of them is aerobic exercises, but they are not enough for maintaining an aging adults’ health. That is why resistance exercises or weight training is necessary to complete the program which will help defy aging. Apart from enhancing metabolic rate, such a combination of trainings also improve posture, immune response, and bone strength. There is even a new research which states that working on your body also helps battle cancer and heart disease. So if you want to prepare your body against slow degeneration, make sure to find a routine which suits you first, and just go one step at a time.

resistance_training
Credit: http://youplus.com

Diet is also a necessary part in this battle, because it supplies your body with much needed nutrients which will enable you to endure all your hardships and help improve your results. Remember, the building block of muscle mass is protein, so aim to eat a meal at least once a day which has adequate amounts of this macronutrient, crucial for muscle cell regeneration. Also, do not hesitate to supply yourself with bodybuilding supplements, because they provide you with much needed nutrients that cannot be easily found in everyday meals.

Conclusion

The digital world in which we live right now doesn’t require us to move, to be active, if we are to get some things done. That may be the downside, but it is not all that gloomy. Laziness is a condition that can be easily treated. Some people may just need a good old push to go out and actually do something with themselves and their bodies. Still, technology has enabled us to discuss all manner of things, even if it may be an inevitable little beast like sarcopenia, but at least we can all exchange our experiences and figure out what we can actually do about it. Trainings will pay off if you stay the course and remain diligent. What is most important is to just keep moving and staying alive.

Mathews McGarry is passionate about many forms of strength training, and spent years lifting, dragging and flipping all manner of heavy objects. After graduating from the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Sydney, he started writing about his experiences, and sharing tips for better life. Follow him on Twitter.

Should We Be Doing More Than Our Daily Allotment of Exercise?

The positive benefits of regular exercise are well documented. Conversely, the negative effects of too much inactivity have been shown to cause of myriad of health issues such as sarcopenia, metabolic syndrome and pre-diabetes. Research has now shown the benefits of exercise can be negated if you’re sitting too much throughout the day. Finding the time to add more activity into your day, beyond what you may do for exercise, is critical. “Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that results in energy expenditure.” Exercise is considered a subcategory of physical activity. Exercise is physical activity that is planned, structured, repetitive, and has a purpose.

url
Photo Credit: http://www.body-languages.net

Let’s say a typical 24-hour day breaks down like this: eight hours are needed for work, another eight hours are required for sleep and the remaining eight hours is free time. Let’s take a closer look at the sixteen hours in each day needed for work and used for free time or leisure. Let’s say one hour is used for exercise, that leaves us with eight hours for our job and seven hours of free time. It’s important to understand, in order to improve various health outcomes, you need to start moving more during those remaining fifteen hours. According to researcher Clyde Wilson, Phd:

“It is not news that exercise reduces disease risk, and may add to one’s longevity by a decade or more. But “movement,” which is less intense and performed regularly throughout the day and the lifespan, is correlated to potential longevity beyond that achieved by exercise. Lack of movement, on the other hand, creates a “super-relaxed state” of muscle that reduces the metabolic rate dramatically and creates profound negative implications for disease risk and mortality. These findings indicate that movement would be more important for overall lifespan than exercise, but that exercise would be an important way to compensate for a lifestyle requiring most hours of your day to be sedentary (such as working at a computer).”

What you do the rest of the day, following your exercise session, is critical and can make an impact on longevity. It looks like the key take away is to continue to exercise but work on building in more time for activity throughout your day.

A new study, published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, suggest that walking just two additional minutes each hour could offset the hazards of sitting too much. According to lead investigator, Tom Greene, PhD:

“Exercise is great, but the reality is that the practical amount of vigorous exercise that can be achieved is limited. Our study suggests that even small changes can have a big impact.”

You may have the exercise component down but you just feel like your body needs more to really change the way you look and feel. Increasing your activity level throughout your workday and during your leisure time could be just what the doctor ordered.

References

Bedbhu S, Wei G, Marcus R, Chonchol M, Greene T. Light-intensity physical activity and mortality in the United States general population and CKD subpopulation. CJASN, 2015 DOI: 10.2215/%u200BCJN.08410814

Physical Activity, Exercise, and Physical Fitness: Definitions and Distinctions for Health-Related Research. Caspersen C, Powell K, Christenson G.

3 Things that You Can Expect in Life: Death, Taxes and Sarcopenia

Three things are a given in life, death, taxes and sarcopenia. The first two you know all about while the third, sarcopenia, is from the Greek word meaning, literally “lack of flesh” and was coined by Irwin H. Rosenberg, MD, of the USDA HNRC on Aging at Tufts University in Boston back in 1989.

If you are over the age of forty you may have already started to experience this loss in lean muscle tissue. For some individuals it can occur even earlier in life while others who exercise regularly can offset or retard the process. Researchers have stated the following regarding sarcopenia:

“Annual loss of muscle mass has been reported as 1% to 2% at the age of 50 years onwards (Buford et al. 2010; Marcell 2003), and it exceeds over 50% among those aged 80 years and older when compared to younger adults (Baumgartner et al. 1998). The change of muscle mass is closely related to changes in muscle strength.”

One of the keys to delay sarcopenia is adding weekly strength training sessions to your current exercise routine. In terms of frequency, finding the time to complete 2-3 sessions a week would be ideal. As for duration, 15-30 minutes will suffice as long as the intensity is sufficient. The human body is an amazing organism, and to increase strength level, muscles have to be overloaded beyond what they are currently capable of lifting. When this occurs the body will adapt from the imposed stimulus and get stronger. Your goal is to select a resistance that will fatigue the muscle(s); pushing to reach near momentary muscular failure with each set of exercise you perform.

strength-chartThe good news is by adding plenty of protein to your diet, staying active and strength training on a regular basis, you can increase strength, functional ability and slow the loss of muscle tissue as you age. The choice is up to you.

References

Buford TW, Anton SD, Judge AR, Marzetti E, Wohlgemuth SE, Carter CS, et al. (2010). Models of accelerated sarcopenia: critical pieces for solving the puzzle of age-related muscle atrophy. Aging Res Rev. 9:369–383. doi: 10.1016/j.arr.2010.04.004.

Marcell TJ. Sarcopenia: causes, consequences, and preventions (2003). J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 58:M911–M916. doi: 10.1093/gerona/58.10.M911

Baumgartner RN, Koehler KM, Gallagher D, Romero L, Heymsfield SB, Ross RR, et al. (1998). Epidemiology of sarcopenia among the elderly in New Mexico. Am J Epidemiol. 147:755–763. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.aje.a009520.

Bijlsma AY, Meskers CGM, Ling CHY, Narici M, Kurrle SE, Cameron ID, Westendorp RGJ, and Maier AB (2013). Defining sarcopenia: the impact of different diagnostic criteria on the prevalence of sarcopenia in a large middle aged cohort
Age (Dordr). 35(3): 871–881. doi: 10.1007/s11357-012-9384-z

Keys to Building Muscle are Intake, Timing and Distribution of Protein

SONY DSCMany individuals work hard in the gym, lifting the appropriate amount of weight to progressively overload their muscles, get plenty of sleep and may even do well with the big piece of the puzzle, nutrition. But they still have trouble building lean muscle mass. It is important to realize that you’re first in a constant battle to preserve the amount of muscle you currently have. Preventing sarcopenia can be a serious challenge for the majority of people especially after age 40. You might be getting in 2-3 strength training sessions each week, eating adequate protein with a balanced diet and taking in an additional 500 calories a day needed to build new muscle. But all the hard work your’e currently doing in terms of strength training and diet may only be enough to maintain your lean muscle level; not build additional muscle. If you’re still having trouble adding a few pounds of lean muscle, look at the amount of protein you’re consuming as well as when and how the protein is distributed throughout your day.

Research has demonstrated that it is important to take in adequate protein every three hours on your strength training days. A 2013 study by Areta and colleagues, published in the Journal of Physiology, showed that subjects who consumed 20 grams of whey protein every 3-hours over a 12-hour period, following a single-bout of strength training, showed superior results for stimulating muscle protein synthesis. Their total protein intake during the study was 80 grams (like the other two groups of subjects) but the key differences were the timing and distribution pattern of the whey protein. The findings of this novel study were:

“the results from the current study provide new information demonstrating that the timing and distribution of protein ingestion is a key factor in maximally stimulating rates of MPS (myofibril protein synthesis) throughout an entire day.”

“this study emphasizes that the timing of protein intake is a separate variable and a crucial factor in the development of optimal nutritional strategies to maintain and/or enhance peak muscle mass in humans.”

Reference

Areta JL, Burke LM, Ross ML et al. (2013). Timing and distribution of protein ingestion during prolonged recovery from resistance exercise alters myofibrillar protein synthesis. Journal of Physiology 591(9):2319–2331

Why Do We All Lose Lean Muscle at Some Point During Our Lifetime?

There is a great deal of uncertainty in life but here are three things you can count on, taxes, muscle loss and death. The loss of muscle due to aging is known as sarcopenia. Research from the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging in Boston as well as other research groups continue to demonstrate that you can build muscle at any age. On the flip side, however, you also start losing it around age 35 and the loss gets more pronounced as you enter the fifth and seventh decades of life. There are many reasons why we all lose muscle and here are five of them. The good news is this loss of muscle can be slowed by consistent, progressive strength training, just a few times a week, coupled with adequate sleep and protein intake.

images-1
Cross-sectional photo of upper thigh area showing sarcopenia. Manchester Metropolitan University.
  1. Muscle Loss from Aging. The key is to stay strong by staying active and to strength train consistently in your early years and then work at carrying that forward through your golden years. The average person will lose 0.5 – 1 pounds of lean muscle mass per year starting around age 35. Participants in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study on Aging (aged 20-92 yrs.) showed a slow loss of lean muscle until age 65, followed by a faster decline as they continued to age (Borkan and Norris, 1977). In addition, as we age we see a loss of important hormones such as testosterone in men and estrogen in women that play a big part in this muscle losing scenario.
  2. Muscle Loss from Inactivity. Aging is inevitable but inactivity can be controlled. More than 30% of Americans are inactive and only 5% of us exercise vigorously during the course of a given week. The old adage, use it or lose it, still applies. Your goal is simple – to prevent the loss of muscle, bone etc. you must overload and stress your muscles at least 2-3 times each week by strength training. Per Olaf Astrand, MD, who is considered one of the founding fathers of exercise physiology states it perfectly: “Given what we know about the health benefits of physical activity, it should be mandatory to get a doctor’s permission not to exercise.”
  3. Muscle Loss from Inadequate Protein Intake. As you age, some individuals take in fewer calories over the course of a day and in turn fall short of their daily protein needs to build lean muscle. Others fall into the category of getting enough or more than enough calories but their diet contains more carbohydrates and fats. As a rule of thumb, the Institute of Medicine recommends 0.8 – 0.9 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. You can also aim for 15-20 grams of protein in each of your three meals. In a study at the Pennington Biomedical Research Laboratory, researchers followed subjects for 12 weeks. The volunteers had to eat nearly 1,000 extra calories a day over and above what they needed to maintain their body weight. Their diets consisted of 5%, 15%, or 25% of total calories from protein. The medium and high-protein groups gained muscle mass while the low-protein group lost muscle mass. If you’re coming up short in terms of daily protein intake – it will be very difficult to build lean muscle tissue even if you’re strength training on a regular basis.
  4. Muscle Loss from Lack of Sleep. This is the area where most people miss the boat. A lack of sleep can help you lose the muscle-building ball game, even if you’re getting the recommended protein intake and strength training. On average, a good 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep is important for your body to recover and grow. The problem is that most of us are not getting that on a regular basis. According to sleep expert, William Dement, MD, PhD, social pressures to work more have reduced our sleep time by 20% over the past century. Muscle repair happens during sleep, so by getting six hours or less a night you’re limiting your body’s natural production of growth hormone that among other things helps to stimulate protein synthesis and fosters the repair of tissue. Think of sleep as an added bonus, according to a 2004 study, people who slept less than six hours a night were almost 30% more likely to become obese than those who slept seven to nine hours. To help you sleep better try avoiding all caffeine products 6 hours prior to bed.
  5. Muscle Loss from too Much Cardio. You have to set the stage in order to build lean muscle and that means the body has to be in an anabolic state (i.e. “muscle building”). You need a surplus of calories and adequate protein in order to build muscle mass. When a person is doing hours of cardio each week, the odds are their body is in what is known as a catabolic state (i.e. “muscle break-down”). If they are constantly in a negative deficit, because of the valuable calories spent doing cardio, and by not taking in the needed amount of daily calories, the body will not have enough stored energy to actually build new muscle tissue. When you are trying to add muscle, remember to keep the cardio to a minimum. Also keep in mind that your strength sessions alone are catabolic in nature and you need to immediately get into an anabolic mind-set following your workout. One the easiest ways to do this is to have a whey protein drink as soon as possible post workout.

Reference

Borkan, GA, Norris AH. (1977). Fat redistribution and the changing body dimensions of the adult male. Human Biology 49:495-514.

Dement, W (1999). The Promise of Sleep. Dell Publishing.

Masters Athletes Show the Importance of Exercise on Aging Muscle.

psm.2011.09.1933_fig5There are instances when a picture can really help tell a story. Case in point, with the photo shown here. This is one of the best photos for showing what muscle and fat actually look like (via a cross-sectional view from an MRI scan). Secondly, it can be used as a great motivational tool for showing the difference between an active and sedentary person’s muscles and the effect exercise can have on it. We will take a deeper dive into these three  photos but let’s first set the stage.

You are probably aware that to get a muscle larger and stronger many variables need to come into play. To build muscle you must consistently overload that muscle to the point of momentary muscular failure. If this continues to happen consistently over time, with a progressive overload, the muscle fibers will increase in size, this is known as muscle hypertrophy. As muscles increase in size, you’re able to generate more force and power. As a result you typically see an increase in strength level and among other things, your bones also become stronger. You can build strength and muscle size at any age but it becomes more difficult as one gets older. Both muscle strength and size increase up to age 25-35 and typically maintained to around 50-years old dependent upon on activity level. If you do not strength train and stay active there is an increase likelihood that sarcopenia will set in. Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle mass as a result of advancing age. It is possible to lose 8-10% of your muscle mass between the ages of 40 and 50 and this number could potentially increase to 15% per decade after age 75 if an inactive lifestyle is followed.

Wroblewski and colleagues performed a study (2011) on forty Masters athletes (age 40-70+), evenly split between the sexes, all were triathletes working out 4-5 times a week. This particular set of MRI scans show three different cross-sectional shots of a quadriceps muscle (thigh) from test subjects. The top photo is of a 40-year old triathlete, the middle photo belongs to a 74-year old sedentary man while the bottom photo is that of a 70-year old triathlete. The white area constitutes adipose tissue (fat) and the darker colored area is the good stuff, metabolically active lean muscle tissue. The first thing that I want you to notice is the similarity between the top and bottom photos. There is a 30-year age difference between these individuals but the lean muscle and body fat levels look almost identical. The scans are both of Masters athletes and there is not a better photo that demonstrates the validity of the use it or lose it principle.

The final point I want to make is you have a choice in the matter of how well you age, if you take the sedentary road, you may end up looking like the middle photo of the sedentary 74-year old. Otherwise, your goal should be to continue taking that magic pill to prevent the loss of both muscle and functionality. If not, activities of daily living like getting up a flight of stairs or getting into a car will become maximal efforts and eventually, assistance will be needed. That pill by the way is exercise with an emphasis on strength training. The great thing about strength training is you don’t need to do it everyday; just 2-3 times a week will keep you looking and feeling years younger.

Credit: MRI scans of the quadriceps of a 40-year-old triathlete, a 70-year-old triathlete and a 74-year-old sedentary man is from Wroblewski et al. and their research paper can be read here. Chronic Exercise Preserves Lean Muscle Mass in Masters Athletes, Andrew Wroblewski, Francis Amati, et al. The Physician and Sports Medicine, 39(3):172-178, 2011. A second paper on Masters athletes that you may want to read, Endurance Exercise in Masters Athletes can be found here Journal Physiology 586(1):55-63, 2008.

How Many Calories do Muscle and Fat Actually Burn?

Muscle and Fat 5 lbs eachYou have probably read on various blogs and even in many health and fitness books that building muscle is important (which is true) and that for every pound of muscle you can add you will increase your metabolic rate (again, this is true). Then you continue to read on and what typically follows is …and with each pound of new muscle you add your body will expend an additional 50-75 calories and that fact I’m sorry to tell you is false. We now know, however, that each additional pound of lean muscle tissue actually requires about 6-7 calories per pound per day to maintain while adipose tissue (fat) requires 2 calories/pound/day. I like to think of it this way – a pound of muscle burns three times more calories than a fat pound of fat and muscle has greater density (see photo) and takes up 1/3 less space compared to fat. This is why you look better after months of consistent exercise even if you do not lose much weight (hint: it’s not about body weight; it’s about the ratio of muscle to fat).

You might be asking yourself at this point – is it even worth it to start or continue on with my strength training routine? I’m here to tell you YES IT IS !! Your goal at this point, especially if you’re a baby boomer like me (born between 1946-64) is to increase the amount of muscle that you have. Why? Because you will begin to lose it as you age and as a result your strength will decrease and your functional ability will deteriorate. The name associated with this muscle loss is called Sarcopenia and here is a great book for further reading. As we age we will continue to lose, in the vicinity of, 0.5 lbs to 0.8 lbs. of lean muscle tissue each year after age 40 and possibly even younger. There is some research (Nair, 1995) that shows a muscle loss of 3-5% per decade starting at age 30 for individuals who have been inactive. If you’re in the age range of say 45 to 55 that is about 5-8 pounds of metabolically active muscle tissue that you will no longer have. As you get older the loss becomes even more pronounced and by the time you reach age 70 the muscular system has undergone a 40% loss of muscle mass and a 30% decrease in strength (Rogers & Evans, 1993).

It has been said that the best medicine is prevention. To help prevent the loss of muscle, start or continue with your weekly strength training sessions, you will be glad you did …especially later in life!

References:

Nair, K.S. (1995). Muscle Protein Turnover: Methodological Issues and the Effect of Aging. The Journals of Gerontology 50A:107-114.

Roubenoff, R. (2001). Origins and Clinical Relevance of Sarcopenia. Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology 26(1):78-89.

Porter, M. (2001). The Effects of Strength Training on Sarcopenia. Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology 26(1): 123-141.

Rogers, M. A., & Evans, W. J. (1993). Changes in skeletal muscle with aging: Effects of exercise training. In J. O. Holloszy (Ed), Exercise and Sport Science Reviews. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins.

3 Things that You Can Expect in Life: Death, Taxes and Sarcopenia

Three things are a given in life, death, taxes and sarcopenia. The first two you know all about while the third, sarcopenia, is from the Greek word meaning, literally “lack of flesh” and was coined by Irwin H. Rosenberg, MD, of the USDA HNRC on Aging at Tufts University in Boston back in 1989.

If you are over the age of forty you may have already started to experience this loss in lean muscle tissue. For some individuals it can occur even earlier in life while others who exercise regularly can offset or retard the process. Researchers have stated the following regarding sarcopenia:

“Annual loss of muscle mass has been reported as 1% to 2% at the age of 50 years onwards (Buford et al. 2010; Marcell 2003), and it exceeds over 50% among those aged 80 years and older when compared to younger adults (Baumgartner et al. 1998). The change of muscle mass is closely related to changes in muscle strength.”

One of the keys to delay sarcopenia is adding weekly strength training sessions to your current exercise routine. In terms of frequency, finding the time to complete 2-3 sessions a week would be ideal. As for duration, 15-30 minutes will suffice as long as the intensity is sufficient. The human body is an amazing organism, and to increase strength level, muscles have to be overloaded beyond what they are currently capable of lifting. When this occurs the body will adapt from the imposed stimulus and get stronger. Your goal is to select a resistance that will fatigue the muscle(s); pushing to reach near momentary muscular failure with each set of exercise you perform.

strength-chartThe good news is by adding plenty of protein to your diet, staying active and strength training on a regular basis, you can increase strength, functional ability and slow the loss of muscle tissue as you age. The choice is up to you.

References

Buford TW, Anton SD, Judge AR, Marzetti E, Wohlgemuth SE, Carter CS, et al. (2010). Models of accelerated sarcopenia: critical pieces for solving the puzzle of age-related muscle atrophy. Aging Res Rev. 9:369–383. doi: 10.1016/j.arr.2010.04.004.

Marcell TJ. Sarcopenia: causes, consequences, and preventions (2003). J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 58:M911–M916. doi: 10.1093/gerona/58.10.M911

Baumgartner RN, Koehler KM, Gallagher D, Romero L, Heymsfield SB, Ross RR, et al. (1998). Epidemiology of sarcopenia among the elderly in New Mexico. Am J Epidemiol. 147:755–763. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.aje.a009520.

Bijlsma AY, Meskers CGM, Ling CHY, Narici M, Kurrle SE, Cameron ID, Westendorp RGJ, and Maier AB (2013). Defining sarcopenia: the impact of different diagnostic criteria on the prevalence of sarcopenia in a large middle aged cohort
Age (Dordr). 35(3): 871–881. doi: 10.1007/s11357-012-9384-z