Did you know that on average we lose about 15% of our muscle strength per decade after the age of 50?
Resistance training can help slow that process down. Read these training tips to help keep your body strong as you age. ?
These seven tips can keep your strength training to prevent muscle loss safe and effective. (from Harvard Medical Center)
- Warm up and cool down for five to 10 minutes. Walking is a fine way to warm up; stretching is an excellent way to cool down.
- Focus on form, not weight. Align your body correctly and move smoothly through each exercise. Poor form can prompt injuries and slow gains. When learning a strength training routine, many experts suggest starting with no weight, or very light weight. Concentrate on slow, smooth lifts and equally controlled descents while isolating a muscle group.
- Working at the right tempo helps you stay in control rather than compromise strength gains through momentum. For example, count to three while lowering a weight, hold, then count to three while raising it to the starting position.
- Pay attention to your breathing during your workouts. Exhale as you work against resistance by lifting, pushing, or pulling; inhale as you release.
- Keep challenging muscles by slowly increasing weight or resistance. The right weight for you differs depending on the exercise. Choose a weight that tires the targeted muscle or muscles by the last two repetitions while still allowing you to maintain good form. If you can’t do the last two reps, choose a lighter weight. When it feels too easy to complete add weight (roughly 1 to 2 pounds for arms, 2 to 5 pounds for legs), or add another set of repetitions to your workout (up to three sets). If you add weight, remember that you should be able to do all the repetitions with good form and the targeted muscles should feel tired by the last two.
- Stick with your routine — working all the major muscles of your body two or three times a week is ideal. You can choose to do one full-body strength workout two or three times a week, or you may break your strength workout into upper- and lower-body components. In that case, be sure you perform each component two or three times a week.
- Give muscles time off. Strength training causes tiny tears in muscle tissue. These tears aren’t harmful, but they are important: muscles grow stronger as the tears knit up. Always give your muscles at least 48 hours to recover before your next strength training session.