How to Regain Muscle Mass After 50

You may have lost some muscle mass as you age, but don’t give up, there are ways to regain strength and tone. Read on to discover how to regain muscle mass after 50.

Muscle loss is more likely as we grow older, but there are things that can be done to minimize its effect. Here are 10 Tips for Building Lean Muscles After 50 that will help you regain your muscle mass and tone.

10 Tips for Building Lean Muscles After 50

Muscle loss happens, but it doesn’t mean that you need to give up on building muscle. In fact, there are many simple ways to keep your muscles strong and toned without spending hours at the gym.

1 Eat More Protein.

Eating more protein is one of the easiest ways to build lean muscles after 50. It helps with building muscle tissue, which is what makes up our skeletal system. This means that eating more protein will help you gain weight while maintaining your current body composition.

If you are not consuming adequate amounts of protein, your body will break down muscle to provide the body with the amino acids needed to support body functions. Over time, this can lead to decreased muscle mass and strength. 1

Protein helps keep muscles strong and healthy by building them. Start your day right with a high protein breakfast. In addition, eating protein before bedtime can help you sleep better at night. Try lean meats, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, and soy products. 

Studies have shown that protein supplementation may accelerate gains in both aerobic and anaerobic power. 2

As for the right timing, you’ll want to consume protein after weight training. 3 You can eat a regular meal that focuses on protein or you may choose to drink protein shakes. Most whey protein shakes contain about 20 grams of protein per serving. 

Bottom Line: High-protein diets are associated with muscle gain, whereas low protein diets can lead to loss of muscle mass. 

2 Work Out with Weight Training.

To build lean muscles after fifty, exercise with weights. Weight training workouts focus on building muscle by using resistance. Resistance is anything that opposes movement, such as gravity, friction, or air pressure.

Studies show that resistance exercises in the aging population will help in regaining muscle mass after age fifty. 4 If you have little to no experience in strength training, consider hiring a personal trainer to teach you how to perform an exercise for each muscle group.

What Makes a Good Personal Trainer? Here are 10 Signs You’ve Found a Good One!

Although going out to exercise is not necessary, it may be easier to build muscle mass using weights than performing bodyweight exercises. The best training program is the one you will consistently follow.

You may not be interested in the same exercises bodybuilders use, but they are the ones you’ll likely use for muscle gain. Lunges, pushups, squats, can all be done with or without weights. Deadlifts, bicep curls, and bench press all require the use of machines or free weights and are the fastest way to regain muscle mass. 

Switching your membership from a “Gym” to a “Health and Fitness Center” may be helpful if you find going to the gym unpleasant. 

If you have only a short amount of time for exercise and have to choose between cardio and weight training, choose the weights!

3 Stretch Before Exercise.

Stretching before exercise helps prevent injury and improves performance. It also reduces soreness and stiffness after exercise. Stretching before you exercise will help limber up the muscle fibers.

Doing your stretches before physical activity is particularly important for older adults. Doing stretches for the muscle groups you intend to work out decreases the risk of injury. Injuries can lead to loss of muscle strength due to inactivity. 

Tai Chi is a form of exercise that helps you stay balanced and is a good stretching exercise. If you’re not sure what kind of stretches to perform, this is another good reason to hire a personal trainer.

Also, when hiring a personal trainer, if at first you don’t succeed, try again. It is not uncommon to need a few tries before finding the perfect fit for you.

4 Drink Plenty of Water.

If you’re not drinking enough water, you’ll lose more than just weight. You’ll also lose lean muscle mass, which will make it harder to build back up. Aim for eight glasses per day.

Older people tend to be more susceptible to dehydration, with one study showing 40% being chronically underhydrated. To assure you stay hydrated, choose foods with higher water content, always carry water with you, and make hydration part of your routine.

5 Avoid Alcohol

Alcohol has been shown to inhibit testosterone production, which means less muscle growth. In addition, alcohol can cause dehydration, which can lead to cramps and soreness. 

Studies have shown that alcohol consumption reduces muscle protein synthesis (MPS), which reduces the possibility of gaining muscle. It has also been revealed that alcohol negatively modifies hormone levels and decreases the body’s metabolism, meaning the capability to decrease body fat becomes delayed.GMBH

Beer, wine, and mixed drinks also tend to contain a higher amount of carbs which can also make weight loss more difficult.

6 Try lifting weights several times per week

Lifting weights two to three times per week will help you maintain strength and tone while burning calories. It’s also an effective way to improve your cardiovascular fitness. Start with lightweight training and work your way up to heavier weights and more repetitions.

If you’ve been leading a sedentary lifestyle, you’ll want to ease your way into strength training workouts. 

Keeping an inexpensive set of weights at home may be a great place to start. You can find a basic set of weights on Amazon. Choose a weight set with a variety of dumbbells and barbells that will allow you to increase or decrease the weights easily.

Resistance bands are another excellent method of getting a good muscle-building workout. Or you may choose to use a kettlebell to do a huge variety of weight-lifting exercises. 

Side note: Since I turned 50 years of age, I’ve been following this chart to track my workouts including reps and weights.

7 Drink green tea

Green tea has been shown to improve blood flow to the brain, which can lead to improved memory and concentration. It also contains antioxidants that protect against free radicals, which can damage cells and DNA.

Green tea also promotes the loss of body fat in those with obesity. 5 Start a habit of enjoying a cup of green tea after meals, the benefits extend beyond body composition. 

Green tea has the potential to protect against various malignant, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. There is a growing body of evidence pointing a beneficial role of green tea and its polyphenols in oral health. Green tea protects against bacterial-induced [cavities]. 6

13 Benefits of Green Tea

8 Take a multivitamin

A daily multivitamin can help ensure you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals. Vitamin D helps maintain healthy bones and teeth, while vitamin B6 supports energy production. These are just two that are commonly included in a well-rounded multivitamin.

While there is currently no evidence to support the idea that a multivitamin helps you to gain muscle mass, it can improve quality of life by supporting your immune system and other body systems. Staying in optimal health means you will have the energy and health needed to workout.

In addition, strength training is an important part of osteoporosis prevention.

Most of us know that strength training (with free weights, weight machines, or resistance bands) can help build and maintain muscle mass and strength. What many of us don’t know is that strong muscles lead to strong bones. And strong bones can help minimize the risk of fracture due to osteoporosis. A combination of age-related changes, inactivity, and inadequate nutrition conspire to gradually steal bone mass, at the rate of 1% per year after age 40. As bones grow more fragile and susceptible to fracture, they are more likely to break after even a minor fall or a far less obvious stress, such as bending over to tie a shoelace.

Harvard health

9 Maintain Optimal Vitamin D Levels

Many health conditions are related to a lack of vitamin D, but it is important to note that low vitamin D levels could prevent you from re-gaining muscle mass at any age. Treatment with active vitamin D has been associated with greater muscle size and strength. 7

The main effect of active vitamin D is to stimulate the absorption of calcium from the gut. The consequences of vitamin D deficiency include bone loss, leading to osteoporosis and fractures, mineralization defects, which may lead to osteomalacia in the long term, and muscle weakness, causing falls and fractures. 8

Vitamin D levels are related to bone mineral density and bone turnover. Vitamin D supplementation may decrease bone turnover and increase bone mineral density. Discuss bone density and your supplement regimen with your healthcare provider.

10 Reduce Inflammation and Stress

Sarcopenia has been closely associated to high levels of c-reactive protein which is indicative of inflammation leading to the conclusion that inflammation may cause loss of muscle. 9 Reduce stress and follow an anti-inflammatory diet if you feel this could be an issue for you.

Follow these 10 tips to regain or maintain muscle as you approach your fifties and you’ll age naturally and beautifully.

Sources
  1. Carbone, John W, and Stefan M Pasiakos. “Dietary Protein and Muscle Mass: Translating Science to Application and Health Benefit.” Nutrients vol. 11,5 1136. 22 May. 2019, doi:10.3390/nu11051136
  2. Volpi, Elena et al. “Muscle tissue changes with aging.” Current opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care vol. 7,4 (2004): 405-10. doi:10.1097/01.mco.0000134362.76653.b2
  3. Esmarck, B et al. “Timing of postexercise protein intake is important for muscle hypertrophy with resistance training in elderly humans.” The Journal of physiology vol. 535,Pt 1 (2001): 301-11. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7793.2001.00301.x
  4. Peterson, Mark D et al. “Influence of resistance exercise on lean body mass in aging adults: a meta-analysis.” Medicine and science in sports and exercise vol. 43,2 (2011): 249-58. doi:10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181eb6265
  5. Thielecke, F et al. “Epigallocatechin-3-gallate and postprandial fat oxidation in overweight/obese male volunteers: a pilot study.” European journal of clinical nutrition vol. 64,7 (2010): 704-13. doi:10.1038/ejcn.2010.47
  6. Narotzki, Baruch et al. “Green tea: a promising natural product in oral health.” Archives of oral biology vol. 57,5 (2012): 429-35. doi:10.1016/j.archoralbio.2011.11.017
  7. Gordon, Patricia L et al. “Relationship between vitamin D and muscle size and strength in patients on hemodialysis.” Journal of renal nutrition : the official journal of the Council on Renal Nutrition of the National Kidney Foundationvol. 17,6 (2007): 397-407. doi:10.1053/j.jrn.2007.06.001
  8. Lips, Paul, and Natasja M van Schoor. “The effect of vitamin D on bone and osteoporosis.” Best practice & research. Clinical endocrinology & metabolism vol. 25,4 (2011): 585-91. doi:10.1016/j.beem.2011.05.002
  9. Bano, Giulia et al. “Inflammation and sarcopenia: A systematic review and meta-analysis.” Maturitas vol. 96 (2017): 10-15. doi:10.1016/j.maturitas.2016.11.006

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