Never too late to build muscle mass
United Press International
People lose muscle mass as they age but U.S. researchers say adults can fight the battle of strength and muscle loss that comes with aging.
Mark Peterson, a research fellow in the University of Michigan's Physical Activity and Exercise Intervention Research Laboratory, says adults age 50 and older who are sedentary can expect muscle loss of as much as 0.4 pounds a year.
"That only worsens as people age. But even earlier in adulthood -- the 30s, 40s and 50s -- you can begin to see declines if you do not engage in any strengthening activities," Peterson says in a statement. "No matter what age an individual is, they can experience significant strength improvement with progressive resistance exercise even into the eighth and ninth decades of life."
Progressive resistance training means the amount of weight used and the frequency and duration of training sessions are altered over time to accommodate an individual's progress, Peterson says.
The study, published in The American Journal of Medicine, finds after an average of 18-20 weeks of progressive resistance training, an adult can add 2.42 pounds of lean muscle and increase overall strength by 25 percent to 30 percent.
A good way for people to start on a resistance training program -- after getting permission from a doctor -- is to use body mass as a load for various exercises such as squats, standing up out of a chair, modified pushups and exercises such as Tai Chi, Pilates or Yoga.