The CDC recommends senior individuals to do 150 minutes of vigorous exercise each week including 2 or more days of muscle strengthening. This is where resistance training for seniors play an integral part for their fitness.
A new study finds that resistance training or weight lifting is preferable over cardio workouts in terms of muscle preservation and fat loss. In this study, the researchers also found that cardio workouts can cause muscle loss on obese older adults.
Resistance Training For Seniors with Low-Calorie Diet
In this study, Kristen Beavers, assistant professor of health and exercise science at Wake Forest and lead author of the study says resistance training and low-calorie diet preserves lean muscle mass.
On the other hand, the researchers found that cardio workouts can actually cause lean muscle loss. The combination of resistance training and low-calorie diet helps in gaining back muscle loss due to aerobic.
While walking exercise is a great and simple exercise for seniors, adding resistance training to the routine can be more helpful. Additionally, in the study, the researchers also found that resistance training with calorie restriction results in less muscle loss on overweight and obese seniors.
This means, that intermittent fasting when appropriately done on obese seniors is helpful for fat loss purposes.
Previous Study with Similar Findings
This is not the first study that finds the importance of resistance training for seniors. A previous study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Researchers1 find similar benefit.
high-volume, medium load resistance training twice per week led to large increases in the maximum strength of physically active nonresistance trained young and older men over a 10-week period. –Source
In this previous study, researchers found 65-year old men were gaining strength through resistance training. There were no recorded muscle gains and losses but strength gain only. Fortunately, it’s a good thing as seniors have the chance to get stronger.
And, along with the findings of the recent study, it’s even better as seniors will not only get stronger but also able to preserve muscle mass. Additionally, overweight and obese older adults have now an option for losing fat without significantly losing lean muscles.
Are A Way For Seniors To Gain Lean Mass?
Well, while this study did not find resistance training to help seniors gain muscles, a previous study2 did found a way. In this study, researchers found that seniors taking supplements with whey protein as an ingredient, which also contains creatine, Vitamin D, calcium and Omega-3 fatty acids, allow them to gain muscles.
We have demonstrated that twice daily consumption of a whey protein-based supplement containing creatine, vitamin D, calcium, and n-3 PUFA was effective in stimulating strength and lean body mass gains in the absence of exercise in a group of healthy older men.
Note that whey protein and creatine are two of the most widely available ingredients in bodybuilding supplements. Therefore, the combination of resistance training, low-calorie diet, and taking supplements with whey protein could potentially allow seniors not only to gain strength but lean mass, as well.
Here’s a good resistance training for seniors as a good starting point. In addition, there are many DVDs available at Amazon, if you choose to buy one and do your resistance training at your own pace.