Good luck building muscles and maintaining strength if you are over 40 years of age. Why? Because most of us are unaware that we need a change in our strategy if we want to maintain muscle mass, let alone increase it. Our body shifts its focus on survival rather than aesthetics, and that is why our body starts storing more fat and reducing muscle mass. Muscles are made from protein, and to digest protein, it takes a lot of effort. Also, as protein is a good source of energy, our body utilizes it often when under stress.
Strength training and body building is dependent on what you do in the gym and what you do outside. Our workout strategy requires a complete overhaul and our diet requires addition of some essential nutrients.
Let us discuss in-depth what changes can help us not only maintain our muscle mass and strength, but also help us increase it.
Inside The Gym: When we are young, our body can handle almost anything, because of raging hormones. To remain injury free even in your middle and old age, follow the given below tips religiously.
- Increase Stretching: Improve warm up techniques and stretching techniques. Use dynamic stretching before workouts and static stretching after workouts. Foam roller stretches are great for sore muscles and should be done at least once a week.
- Rep Count: Limit low rep exercises to once per week. Do not ignore them completely, as they have a major contribution in maintaining bone health.
- Reduce Spinal Load: Exercises like squats cause a lot of stress on spinal cord and due to age, we are not able recover as fast as we used to. Limit these kind of movements to once per week and try not to go for low reps.
- Limit Lower Body Exercises: Avoid putting too much stress on lower joints like knees and ankles. Swimming is a great alternative people over 35 years of age should consider, as it alleviates pressure from joints and also provides anaerobic workout.
- Stability Exercises: If you were not into stability exercises until now, it is high time you start it. Stability balls, BOSU trainer and Yoga are some of the easy ways to gain stability.
Outside Gym: How many burgers or pizzas could you gobble down in your young age? And can you even eat half of it now, without throwing up? Of course not! Hormones help in digestion as well, and as we grow old these hormones reduce and so does our metabolism. Here are a few things which you can do outside gym to ensure optimum health.
- Rest: Don’t work out more than 4 times a week. Period. Hormones levels are not as high as they used to be, especially testosterone. Our body does not recover fast enough, so ensure at least one day’s rest before you work out again. Sleep at least 7-9 hours and at least one hour before midnight.
- Diet and Supplement: Avoid junk and processed foods as much as you can. Do not let toxic waste and fat get accumulated in the first place. And don’t shy away from supplements. The only way to stay healthy without supplements is by living like a cave man. You will have to sleep immediately after sunset and eat non-processed organic food. Rather than becoming that anti-social guy, consider using natural supplements. And not just protein shakes! Include supplements that will improve hormone levels as well. We must consider supplements for increasing testosterone levels. A condition known as hypogonadism, affects approximately 39 percent of men over age 40, with men in their 60s and 70s at more risk than men in their 40s and 50s, according to the American Urological Association. Testosterone makes a major contribution towards masculine features and HGH contributes towards muscle and strength gains. Consider trying to increase testosterone levels naturally.
Understand and follow these simple guideline to not only maintain, but gain strength and muscle mass even in your middle age.