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The Weight Loss Centre

Muscle Building is Not Just for the Young

 

By Gabe Mirkin, M.D.

 

Older men and women can enlarge and strengthen muscles in the same way that younger people do.

 

The stimulus to make muscles stronger is to exercise them against increasing resistance. When you push against great resistance, you feel a burning that is a sign of muscle damage. When the muscle heals from that damage, it is stronger than before. You feel sore on the next day and should not exercise that muscle against heavy resistance until the soreness goes away.

 

Most young people can lift very heavy weights and continue to lift through the soreness, but older people should stop lifting as soon as they feel the soreness during a workout. Younger people recover faster so they can lift heavy weights every second or third days, but older people take longer for the soreness to go away, so they may be able to lift heavy only once every week or two.

 

A study from Washington University in St. Louis showed that a supervised weightlifting and continuous exercise program can improve function in older people who have difficulty walking and taking care of themselves. Supervised exercise improved older people's ability to feed themselves, take care of bowel habits, and perform their activities better than a low-intensity home exercise program. Exercising vigorously in later life gives older people a far better quality of life, and allows them to be more independent and do most of the things that they could do when they were much younger. It's never too late to get started.

 

Subscribe to my FREE weekly newsletter on fitness, health, and nutrition.

 

Dr. Gabe Mirkin has been a radio talk show host for 25 years and practicing physician for more than 40 years; he is board certified in four specialties, including sports medicine. Read or listen to hundreds of his fitness and health reports -- and the FREE Good Food Book -- at www.DrMirkin.com

 
 
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