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Weight Lifting for Later Life

A recent study at the University of Dublin showed conclusively how important it is to do resistance training later in life, combined with eating more protein. They recommended 20-25 minutes of resistance exercises 3-4 times a week along with a high protein diet

As we age, our muscle tissue deteriorates so much that we eventually cannot support our skeleton. Mobility problems in our joints, such as hips and knees and shoulders, often occur due to a lack of muscle tissue support.

From our 30s onwards, it is a good idea to build a good solid muscular system, which goes against the long-established trend of being skinny or thin. Today, there are more athletic body images for both sexes – natural curves are considered attractive, unlike in the nineties and early 2000s, when the cult of skinny ruled. Thinness is often a lack of lean, dense muscle tissue which can cause serious health issues later in life.

To fully experience the most of life in older age, enjoy traveling, dancing and playing with the grandchildren as it is very important to not be restricted by mobility problems. Weight bearing or resistance training actually builds the bone as well as the muscle, which we need to continue building and repairing for our whole lives. Resistance training speeds up the growth and development of bone and muscle tissue when our natural growth hormone eventually diminishes. Weight bearing exercise is also particularly important for women with oestrogen related bone loss during the menopause.

You can do some form of resistance exercise whatever your age – you do not need to go to a gym. Start at home or with a local group. Aqua aerobics is a great way for older people to take the weight off their joints, while still providing resistance.

Equally, it is important to eat the right diet to support muscle growth. This does not mean a restrictive diet, but rather, an inclusive diet, ensuring that we get plenty of good proteins, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats; protein is especially important. The symbiotic relationship between exercise and protein means that it is essential you embrace both to build muscle tissue.

Another recent study at Oxford University proved that healthy dairy foods are a really good way of feeding muscle tissue as you get older, because they are high in quality protein and calcium.