It doesn't matter how old you are, you can still build muscle. Maybe you've given up thinking you can have great biceps or a tight stomach -- but that's not the case. Scientist have long known that even 90-year-olds can pack on muscle.
OK, if you're a senior, you're not going to ever look like a 20-year-old body builder. But once you're past 50, muscle is about a lot more than looks.
I do several sports, including ski racing and mountain biking. I've had some pretty bad falls. Yet I rarely get injured, because I've built up enough muscle to protect my bones during hard impacts. That's not to say that I've never broken anything, but because of the workouts done to build muscle, the bones were in good shape and healed as quickly as they would have in a 20-year-old.
Muscle also allows Boomers to stay strong. Maybe you don't want to play golf at the age of 75, but certainly you want to be able to walk the equivalent of 18 holes or make a powerful movement with your arms and torso.
Many Boomers buy a few dumbbells, casually lift them a few times, then stick the weights behind a couch and forget about them. That's no way to build muscle. Exercise has to be consistent to get results, even more so for Boomers. It takes us longer to build muscle, and we lose it at a quicker rate when we stop exercising.
The best thing you can do is to join a gym and go to it on a regular schedule. Approach it like a job. Create an hourly schedule. If you feel self-conscious about working out in a public gym, think of yourself as a pioneer, with an "If only they knew..." attitude.
You'll need recovery time between workouts to build muscle. Three times a week may be too much for some people; if your muscles aren't getting harder after a few months, cut back on your workout frequency.
The best way to bulk up is to lift fairly light weights and do a lot of reps. Bodybuilders never lift heavy; they use easy weights and often do 50 reps of each exercise. Boomers can get away with doing 20-25 reps and lifting slowly.You will notice within weeks that you are walking better, that you get less fatigued during the day, and that little aches and pains have disappeared.
Building up muscle will make you physically younger. And who doesn't want that?Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times