Sarcopenia is age-related loss in muscle mass. Although muscle mass declines 1 to 2 percent per year after age 50, exercise can reduce this loss. Resistance training using bodyweight, machines or weights is the most effective way of building muscle.
Sarcopenia makes exercising more difficult, which unfortunately, makes you want to exercise less, contributing even less stimulation of your muscles, leading to more muscle loss. But you can slow down this vicious cycle.
So now we know that strength training is important. If you have access to some weights or bands, use them. If you don’t have weights, get creative! Water bottles, filled gallon jugs and even bottles of wine will do.
How Many Reps are Best?
More repetitions at lower weights? Or lower repetitions at higher weights? If you are an active person, you’ll want to aim to use a weight/resistance band that really challenges you at a maximum of 15 reps. The lower the reps to get to the point of muscle exhaustion, the better. So if you are just beginning to exercise, start with the higher reps and a lower weight.
Good: maximum of 15 reps, 2 to 4 sets
Better: 8 to 12 reps, 2 to 4 sets
Best: 6 to 10 reps, 2 to 4 sets
Focus on doing exercises using multiple joints and the big muscles of your body.
• Squats or chair squats
• Lunges or deep walks
• Dead lifts
• Bent-over rows or pull-ins using bands
• Lat pulls or pullups (use assistance if needed)
As a bonus, resistance training also helps build bone density. Aim for two to three sessions a week for 30 to 60 minutes a day for best results. Just remember, some activity is better than none! And be sure to take it slow. Awareness and self-focus is key to exercising safely.